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Petri Dish and Womb Ethics2 min read

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As I mentioned in GATTACA Comes to Life, we are already using pre-natal genetic screening to select specific embryos during in-vitro fertilization, as well as aborting fetuses based on pre-natal diagnosis.  Not only are we now aborting 80-90% of Down’s syndrome kids, but women are now being pressured by doctors to abort such "undesirable" children. 

This is part of the debate over abortion that liberals don’t want to have.  Is sex-selection abortion, performed widely in the East, ethical?  Should we leave that up to the mother?  But the king of issues is going to be when and if biological factors involved in homosexuality are discovered.  Is it ok for hetero parents to abort potentially gay fetuses because they are "undesirable"?  Even more interesting, recent research on sheep shows that heterosexuality can be induced by giving various hormones – is it ok to treat gay children, or one’s self this way?

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the ‘straightening’ procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

Conservatives have a simple answer:

  • all children have the right to life, regardless of infirmities
  • exceptions should be made for extreme deformities or painful, quickly fatal conditions
  • treating homosexuality with medicine, like other genetic abnormalities such as aggression, is entirely ethical if done with the care that all medicine should be approached with.  However, evidence points to considerable environmental developmental and environmental factors in homosexuality, so there will be no "magic pill"