Thingish Things

The New Abortion Debate

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Aug• 21•11

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The New York Times tackles today the emerging issue of gender selection in the U.S., otherwise known as gender selecting abortions. The practice has become commonplace in China, India, and other nations, but it remains rarer here.  But hardly unheard of.

The impetus for the Times story is the new DNA test that can show at seven weeks and with 95% accuracy the sex of a fetus.  At that stage of pregnancy, The Times notes,  there are little outward signs of pregnancy and pills like RU486 can be used to abort a fetus, sparing a pregnant woman a surgical abortion procedure.  The question is, will increasing multitudes – seeking either a boy or a girl – exercise that option. There are strong suggestions they will:

“There is evidence that some Americans want to choose their babies’ sex,” The Times writes. “At the Fertility Institutes, a set of clinics in Los Angeles, New York and Guadalajara, Mexico, 85 percent of roughly 500 couples each year seek sex selection, although three-quarters of them come from overseas, said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, the medical director.

In the last few election cycles abortion has fallen off the table as a principal campaign issue – after four decades of contention.  Aspiring politicos have begun using – and getting away with — catch phrases like “settled law” to skirt the issue.  

Today’s science is going to return abortion to the front-and-center in American politics.  Gender selecting abortions and other growing practices like “de-twining” demand it.  And no one should be surprised if heretofore pro-choice Americans begin to shift long-held positions. My bet is that this kicks off in 2012.  It should. It should begin as quickly as humanly possible. 

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