It's been interesting to watch the pro-choice movement over the years. Admittedly, I wasn't around to do much watching in the 1970s right after Roe v. Wade. However, it appears that the general perspective was that the unborn child, as I would refer to him or her, was considered little more than a blob of tissue pretty much until it was born and wanted. That belief has been shown to be fiction over time as science has proved what I've always known as a matter of my faith — that it's a human being much earlier than that, as in from conception. The first shift in discussing abortion that I recall started with the concept of viability. The earlier a baby could be born and survive, the more folks on all sides had to acknowledge that it must be more than a blob at some point, though defining that particular point was difficult for pro-aborts. Currently, this once-called blob can survive outside the womb at 21 weeks.
To make matters worse for the abortion movement, Time magazine and others started reporting on fetal surgery and how the unborn child would react to stimuli doctors used in the womb. Then GE launched the 4D ultrasound. Now, the non-biased viewer saw things a lot clearer than the black and white skeletal image to which people had grown accustomed.
These scientific advances have caused a change in dialogue (and a change in opinion?). Of late, one mostly hears groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL talk not in terms of who's in the womb, but in terms of the circumstances the woman faces that merit her taking of human life: the pregnant mom is in poverty, a victim of rape, wouldn't be able to complete her education, "health care." These are real situations and not ones to make light of. However, recent news is bringing to light other circumstances that result in abortion — sex selection and extra embryos.
Not long ago we reported on sex selective abortions. While most associate this problem with India or China's one-child policy (something Joe Biden "understands," see Lisa Graas at LiveAction Blog), the use of sex selection is alive and well in the U.S (see New York Times). Unlike the UK and other places where such a practice has been banned, here it is perfectly legal. It can be done through abortion or one can simply fly to Las Vegas and pay $20,000 to choose an embryo by gender to implant through in vitro fertilization. Even if one doesn't choose to implant a specific sex but implants multiple embryos, one can engage in "twin reduction." This is the process whereby IVF clients implant multiple embryos and when they thrive in the womb, the “parents” then choose one embryo to eliminate through abortion. Given two healthy babies, sex selection can be the basis for that decision. After all, according to Gallup, 45 percent of respondents would choose a boy if they could have only one child, a number nearly double those choosing a girl (27 percent cited no preference).
Couple this practice with recent news of a 95-percent-plus accurate blood test that determines the sex of an unborn child at seven weeks (at least seven-13 weeks earlier than the oft-used ultrasound method, see CBSNews.com), and you see where this is leading. Much like the 4D ultrasound, used only for high-risk pregnancies but available commercially, some in the medical community use this blood test to detect sex-related genetic disorders, but it also is available for purchase by customers of all stripes. In a largely meaningless gesture, the primary seller of the kit, Consumer Genetics, Inc., does require an agreement from purchasers stating that the purpose of testing is not sex selection before it processes the results.
Both "twin reduction" and "sex selection" do appear to be causing some heartburn among "pro-choicers (see William Saletan at Slate.com).When the movement was focused on a blob of tissue, no discussion of motivation was necessary. Since scientific advances have forced proponents of abortion to turn the discussion into a balance between the needs of the mother and the value of the unborn child, motivation becomes relevant. Is abortion acceptable under any and all circumstances? Should someone be able to create a child, implant it and then choose to extinguish its perfectly healthy life as a result of it being one more than was intended? Doesn't the fact that they consciously attempt to create a child prove it is a life? Is it acceptable to society that a woman may choose to get pregnant as frequently as she chooses and abort any number of times to get the desired "boy" result on the seven week blood test?
Interestingly enough, we may have discovered a point where feminism contradicts itself. Can feminism hold onto the view that a woman has a "right to choose" in all circumstances, even if it results in legalized inequality between sexes in the womb?
While this blood test tragically may increase abortion, it has potential fatal ramification for the "pro-choice" movement: This once-called blob of tissue now not only has a discernable heartbeat at six weeks, its sex can be determined at seven. Those defending abortion on demand continue to run headlong into the great words of Dr. Suess: "A person's a person, no matter how small."