Gender test could threaten abortion rights

A new DNA test called Baby Gender Monitor allows parents to find out the sex of the fetus at 5 weeks. The mother takes a finger prick, sends the sample to be tested, and finds out the result in 48 hours. The price is $275. The author of the Boston Globe story Test reveals gender early in pregnancy focuses on the possibility that the test could be used for sex selection.

”You can tiptoe around it, but the fact is that if you’re sending information about sex, then you’re in the sex-selection testing business,” said bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania. He would not ban the test, he said, but ”I would condemn it.”

The test is unlikely to be banned. It’s not dangerous and has legitimate uses. I think it’s more likely that the availability of such an easy, cheap, accurate test will give new ammunition to opponents of abortion, leading to new restrictions on abortion rights.

June 27, 2005

One thought on “Gender test could threaten abortion rights”

  1. I can think of a number of reasons why such a test should NOT be condemned, but the most important is that early gestational identification of gender could reduce the use of higher-risk, costlier later-term procedures to determine sex-linked abnormalities.

    Imagine the relief of parents who discover that their (anticipated) daughter will not bear the burden of the family hemophilia gene expression.

    Any accurate test that reduces reliance on amniocentesis for detecting sex-linked genetic disorders benefits patients.

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