August 3, 2011

"Unlike their Chinese and Indian counterparts, who cannot legally offer sex selection..."

"... American doctors are left to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to perform these procedures, without any consistent ethical guidelines. The reasons American women undergo them are complex, from situations that don't seem particularly troubling (the upper-middle-class woman who wants a daughter to 'balance out' her three boys) to those that are deeply concerning (the immigrant woman who wants a son to avoid emotional abuse by her in-laws)."

From a Slate article by Surnita Puri.

44 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Seems troubling to me.

Revenant said...

Glad to see the "boys < girls" meme is alive and well on the left.

Carol_Herman said...

Becoming a parent is a tough call.

There were illegal abortions in back alleys before 1973! And, because my mom told me. I knew most of the "customers" were married women. Who had too many kids at home.

But back in the old days ... a woman decided this shortly after missing her first period! And, before her second one was due.

As to "designer kids" ... don't forget infertile couples have the woman's eggs removed ... because the men aren't providing enough sperm for impregnation. And, when it's done in a test tube ... there are more than just a few to choose between.

All this is new! Previous generations usually solved "infertility" by having the woman impregnated by a brother. A father. Or a friend. (Or at work.) How were men to know?

China, by the way, has a terrible problem! One million too many boys to girls. Not so easy then to make the next generation. Because men, without counterparts, use sheep.

In the old days? Well, women wouldn't give you a plug nickel to get pregnant "again."

And, I can remember my ex. When he was a resident. Meeting a patient who claimed her last period was back in the 1950's. Then he realized that since she was 17 she dropped a baby a year.

If you're not conscious of overpopulation, that's okay. But it really gets bad when nations run out of food. If not yet? When?

Freeman Hunt said...

The reasons American women undergo them are complex, from situations that don't seem particularly troubling (the upper-middle-class woman who wants a daughter to 'balance out' her three boys) to those that are deeply concerning (the immigrant woman who wants a son to avoid emotional abuse by her in-laws).

WTF? How is the first one less troubling?

"Oh, another son? Meh. Let's kill him and try again."

Not troubling to Ms. Puri.

Freeman Hunt said...

"You know, I'm collecting these things, and it's not like I need a bunch of duplicates of the same model!"

AST said...

Hey, we can't just leave these things up to nature! We're not talking forest management here.

John said...

So Ann, you have been fairly ufront about a woman's right to choose. About a woman's right to have an abortion on demand for whatever reason.

Why should having an abortion because it is a girl be treated any differently than any other abortion?

Surely you are not willing to interfere with a woman's choice.

And what happens if they ever identify a gay gene. Will a woman have freedom of choice to abort a potentially gay fetus?

Its only a lump of tissue, isn't it.

John Henry

AST said...

I wonder how this will affect the number of one sex being born in the body of the other. Hmmm.

edutcher said...

Well the feminists got what they wanted.

Didn't they?

But it didn't turn out quite the way they expected. All those women wanting BOYS.

What sellouts of the Sisterhood. What a triumph of the Patriarchy.

"Reproductive choice and patient autonomy are pillars of American medical practice, after all. Asking a woman for her reasons for wanting a boy or a girl, one doctor told me, is simply not a physician's responsibility or business"

English translation:

"I see nussing. I hear nussing. I know nussing."

At least that's what they'll say when all this blows up in the world's collective face in about 20 years.

John said...

Not abortion per se many countries are having problems with their fertility rates. Spain, France, Germany, Greece and other countries are way below replacement rate. Their native population loss is being masked by immigrants.

Japan has no immigrant mask. Japan's population is less this year than 2009 and in 2009 it was less than 2008. Hard to have an economy that is growing when the population is shrinking.

John Henry

jsled said...

@Freeman Hunt: you mis-parse her. The "less troubling" situation isn't the sex selection, but its circumstances. Contrast it with with "deeply concerning" situation of absuse.

@Revenant wow, what a disgusting mis-read of this.

DADvocate said...

the upper-middle-class woman who wants a daughter to 'balance out' her three boys

Troubling to me. If you can't love the kids God gives you, you can't love. You can only go on self-centered trips into faux parenting.

I'd hate to be that daughter, if she was ever born. Talk about pressure to be little Miss Perfect.

Wonder why the author didn't say "a boy to balance out three girls?"

traditionalguy said...

Life is now very cheap. Obama's medical plan is to make baby murder a government freebie.

What society expects to see the young respecting their aging parents, when the babies have been told that they can be treated as worthless on a mother's whim?

dispatches said...

If you believe gender can be changed by science. I mean truly changed. No harm, no foul.

Then is not the second worse than the first?

Even if initial genders are switched.

bearing said...

American doctors don't have to be "left to decide on a case-by-case basis," "without ethical guidelines."

They always have the option of not doing any fucking abortions at all.

Last I heard nobody was holding a gun to their heads demanding that they do abortions.

It must be fun to have one patient come in wanting an abortion because it's a boy and not a girl, and then the next patient come in wanting an abortion because it's a girl and not a boy. What a fucking waste. I don't know how anyone who has anything to do with this sad, sorry business can look themselves in the mirror.

Synova said...

Avoiding emotional abuse seems like a far more *sensible* reason for sex selection than the "not particularly troubling" decision based on wanting to buy pink baby clothes.

Why do we get so much completely back-assward?

We find it ethically troubling, or even outrageous, to create human life in a lab for any purpose other than killing it. If the plan is to create it and then kill it, it's not at all outrageous, it's routine.

Trooper York said...

This is truly disturbing.

These people will rot in hell for all eternity.

Freeman Hunt said...

The "less troubling" situation isn't the sex selection, but its circumstances. Contrast it with with "deeply concerning" situation of absuse.

I am aware of what the writer thinks. I don't agree with her. That a mother would view her child as a simply disposable do over is just as deeply troubling as a woman having to confront abuse.

Freeman Hunt said...

In cases involving sex selection, there are often no clear "right" or "wrong" answers.

Sheesh. People are so lost.

Synova said...

"@Freeman Hunt: you mis-parse her. The "less troubling" situation isn't the sex selection, but its circumstances. Contrast it with with "deeply concerning" situation of absuse."

You can't uncouple the situation from the sex selection. The article is about a lack of ethical guidelines, which is sort of silly, IMO. If abortion does not have moral weight, who cares why someone does it? So what sort of "ethical guidelines" are even rational?

The author implies that there is a difference between sex selection for trivial reasons and sex selection on the basis of social pressure. Why?

And I would ask, again. Why is the trivial reason less troubling than the serious one?

traditionalguy said...

The horror sci fi films like to show invaders from space here to take over ruling the world.

They always have a plan. They have come to kill and eat us.

That sounds as ethical as the Obama Murder, Inc's medical plans we are now funding sound.

And the MDs do have to abort the innocent babies if they want to practice with government insurance at government aided hospitals.

How is that defunding of the Planned Parenthood Murder Mills going at state legislatures so long as Mr Murder himself is our President?

Trooper York said...

Mr Murder is a good title for the President who approved of killing babies who survived and abortion when he was in the Illinois legislature.

What do you think Obama care will do to the old and the handicapped and the unwanted survivors of abortions that will cost too much money? Who will fight for them? Who will stand against the death panels that will say it is perfectly fine to stop treatment if it cost effective or politically correct.

These animals will burn in hell for all eternity.

How do they sleep at night.

max said...

Sex selection is an ethical dilemma... but abortion is acceptable. Good thing to see our priorities are still in order.

MayBee said...

There is no ethical reason to abort a baby because of gender.

I don't know how you could look at your living children knowing you'd done such a thing.

MayBee said...

And I don't know how any doctor could convince himself he's making an ethical choice to do it.

If you are going to give such abortions, just stop asking any patients why. You obviously don't care. Just provide the abortion and be on your way.

ic said...

It's insidious to get rid of a child because of its gender.

What will the clever parents do if their "chosen" child turned out to be gay? Or even worse overfeminine for a heterosexual male, over masculine for a heterosexual female.

Carol Herman: "If you're not conscious of overpopulation, that's okay. But it really gets bad when nations run out of food. If not yet? When?"

Not ever. The misanthropists have been babbling about the Population Bomb eons ago. Ironically, the problem in "progressive" societies is not enough workers to substain the welfare states.

The best thing for those who are "conscious of overpopulation" to do and can do is to set an example to alleviate the problem by getting rid of themselves, and let the unconscious fools to suffer their overpopulation and starvations. That surely will teach those unconscious fools a thing or two.

http://www.answers.com/topic/the-population-bomb

Saint Croix said...

I am far less concerned with thought crimes than with the possibility that we have legalized infanticide in our country.

I was reading about the Kermit prosecution today. Came across this tidbit, that 1.5 percent of abortions are late-term (i.e. after viability).

Pro-choice people always talk about late-term abortion being "a small percentage." And 1.5 is indeed a small percentage. But the number of abortions in our society is so large (50 million) that the actual number of these gruesome abortions is staggeringly high: 750,000.

For those liberals who cling to the belief that viable infants are protected by law, you are wrong. The Supreme Court has defined every unborn baby--including viable ones--as legal non-persons outside our law. They have no rights whatsoever. And to prove it, we have killed 750,000 thousand of them since 1973.

Revenant said...

Why should having an abortion because it is a girl be treated any differently than any other abortion? Surely you are not willing to interfere with a woman's choice.

Does the right to freedom of speech imply immunity to criticism for what you say? Does it imply that there is no speech which is morally, intellectually, or aesthetically repugnant?

Of course not. It just means that people can say what they want without government reprisal.

So why all the confusion over the "right to choose"? Freedom of choice doesn't imply that there are no poor choices; it just implies that it isn't the government's business to say what they are.

Cheryl said...

What is not troubling about an "upper-middle-class woman" deciding she will kill her baby so she can try for a precious princess? That is way worse than the immigrant wanting to shield her baby (and herself) from abusive in-laws. It is selfish and fatuous and disgusting.

I have four kids, and was grateful to have four healthy babies. It would have never occurred to me to decide to choose the sex of any of them. The thought that some mother could do this makes me shudder.

Phil 3:14 said...

"Good" choices involve anguish; "bad" choices are for convenience.

Why can't people see how "personal" and "difficult" each of these situations is?

Don said...

What's all this ruckus about a little bit of meat? That's all a fetus is, right? If we would only start serving fried fetus sandwiches in the school lunch programs, we would get over this superstitious "human life" fetish.

gerry said...

This is moral doom. All the slippery slopes merge. You just can't see the final merging until it's way too late.

Man, am I glad I'm old.

David said...

This is just a weird article completely abstracted from the real world.

In the real world, China and India are selecting sons instead of daughters at insane rates. Within the next 20 years, there are going to be a 100 million unmatched young men in bordering countries with a history of armed conflict.

What could go wrong?

Regardless of what we think about abortion generally, there is no evidence of systemic sex selection in the US.

TMink said...

Oh goody. Next comes hair color selection, then straight/gay selection, then . . .

Trey

raf said...

Wonder why the author didn't say "a boy to balance out three girls?

Because that would have been troubling.

And I would ask, again. Why is the trivial reason less troubling than the serious one?

Because what troubles the author is that in the second case, the woman is being pressured to make a decision while in the first case it is her own whim. What is overwhelmingly important is that it is only the woman's right to choose.

Once you deny any "rights" to men or protoinfants, it all makes sense. Just imagine that the first woman chooses chocolate ice cream because she likes it, but the second has to eat chocolate (When she would prefer vanilla? Okay, poor example, but still...)because of her relatives. Why, it's almost like slavery!

raf said...

The other thing I find strange is the notion that "doctors" should have "ethical" guidelines in this situation. It is the woman's right to choose, but the doctor must make sure that the choice has been properly made.

John said...

A question for the medical professionals here:

In the Slate article

"Dr. Carpenter's brow furrowed as she told me about the first time she met Priya. Carpenter was an OB-GYN resident at the time. Priya was a recent immigrant from India who worked as a manager in a retail store and had come to the central California clinic on her lunch break."

From the little bit the article says about the clinic, I get the impression that it is primarily an abortion clinic, though I might be reading too much into it.

It struck me strange that a doctor would be doing a residency at a clinic, especially an abortion clinic. The author of the piece is a medical resident herself so should know what she is talking about.

Anyone want to take a shot at explaining this?

John Henry

Saint Croix said...

It struck me strange that a doctor would be doing a residency at a clinic, especially an abortion clinic. The author of the piece is a medical resident herself so should know what she is talking about.

If you're a doctor who wants to study abortion, you would almost have to be in a clinic, as most hospitals do not do abortions.

In a hospital, you always say "baby," and you never tell the happy moms about their termination options. They hate that.

Saint Croix said...

If you're not conscious of overpopulation, that's okay. But it really gets bad when nations run out of food. If not yet? When?

It's the mark of a liberal to worry about overpopulation, and to seek to do something about it. Liberals see people as a burden. More people = unemployment to a liberal. Or when they really go overboard, more people = starvation.

They just don't like people!

Saint Croix said...

Communists pass the one baby rule, because they are worried about "too many people."

When people respond by killing off their girls, Communists outlaw that, too.

In our own society, abortion is dictated to us by our unelected rulers. But since we have pretensions of being a republic, we disguise our barbaric need to kill off our young by saying it's a "choice." Our visionary leaders hope to nudge our young girls, our poor, and our minorities to abort their single mom families before they get started.

SarcastiCarrie said...

It's not all abortion. There are 3 ways to do sex selection.

1. Abort fetii of the "wrong" sex. Obviously, the most troubling.

2. In IVF when embryos are already outside of teh body, remove one cell from each, examine chromosomes, only transfer the embryos of the "right" sex into the uterus and then hope an ongoing pregnancy results. Most IVF patients just want a baby - any baby so this doesn't happen too much, but if you have the money, you could do it. IVF routinely makes extra embryos, so this isn't really very different from normal.

3. Centrifuge the sperm and only use the light (or heavy) part in inseminating the woman. It's only about 75% successful at producing the "right" sex baby, but that's better odds than mother nature gives you. I don't find this troubling at all. At least not in the US. In the US, there is a slight preference for female babies (among native born Americans and by the second generation of immigrants). That preference for females would actually help the worldwide imbalance of the sexes that is due in the future.

MayBee said...

I agree with you, SarcastiCarrie.

Lisa said...

Freeman,

I think the sex selection methods that are less troubling are like sorting sperm before fertilization.

Of course, the only reason why this would be troubling is if a cultural preference were to develop. It's one thing for a family of two girls to try for a boy or a family with two boys to try for a girl... quite another for a family to refuse to have one gender at all.

Revenant said...

If you're not conscious of overpopulation, that's okay. But it really gets bad when nations run out of food. If not yet? When?

Never.

The world's population is going to peak at 8 billion and then begin to decline. It will keep declining for the indefinite future.

We can easily feed 8 billion people with current technology. We could probably feed 20 billion if we had to.