By Father Jonathan Morris
Over the last few months, with underwhelming media attention, home “gender” tests appeared on the United States market that can determine the sex of an unborn baby as early as eight or ten weeks into pregnancy, according to its American design company.
So underwhelming was the product rollout that, apparently, even Drudge Report missed it. Yesterday the newsmaking Web site linked to a story in the New Zealand Herald about a “controversial product” making its way from Australia to the shores of its southeastern neighbor.
Much more newsworthy for an American site like Drudge, would have been a link to the American company, IntelliGender, that designed the product and that is already selling it in local Walgreen and CVS pharmacies in every big and little town in America.
Drudge did well, however, in pointing out the societal relevance of such a product. The new technology will now make it possible for women or couples to make a decision to abort a child on account of gender, before signs of pregnancy are visible.
This use of the product, of course, is not highlighted in the marketing pitch of IntelliGender. It boasts only that the “gender prediction product” (about 80 percent accurate in home testing) is a “fun pre-birth experience” and “bridges the curiosity gap between conception and sonogram”.
Personally, I find the new technology and accompanying controversy quite interesting, on various accounts. First, it should be said, the new test, if used for good purposes, is perfectly acceptable from a moral perspective. Non-intrusive tests intended to determine the sex of an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy, including well before viability, are a fine use of science. In fact, knowing the sex of a child earlier on in pregnancy may help expecting mothers take stock of the reality of the unique human beings they carry in their wombs. Directors of pro-life pregnancy centers often say sonogram technology is the most powerful tool of persuasion in their goal of encouraging women to carry their babies to term.
Needless to say, there will be some men and women— great numbers, I fear— who abuse this scientific progress and choose to use the early knowledge of gender for selfish purposes.
The real controversy, then, should not be over whether the government should ban these tests, but what the government will do to supervise Planned Parenthood and other government-supported abortion providers as they deal with cases of women seeking abortions of pre-born children of an “undesired gender”.
President Obama has promised that his Administration’s policies of education and support of women with unwanted pregnancies will reduce the number of abortions. Given Planned Parenthood’s well-known record of providing abortion on demand, despite federal and state restrictions prohibiting this, it would be wise of Obama to act swiftly in protection of the little boy or little girl whose only sin is his or her gender. Leaving Planned Parenthood to its own moral restraints will guarantee sex selection as the next selfish motive of another silent genocide.