Oct. 2, 2012
The most divisive question used to be, Will you find out, or wait and be surprised? Do you want to have the joy of planning and preparing for months, or the excitement of pacing and discovering in a hospital room? Some couples wanted that ultrasound; others chose to wait. But now in America, some doctors are presenting couples with a third option, attempting to make both of the former seem passive and old-fashioned. Their battle cry is Why wait? Why wait 9 months for a surprise? Why wait 16 weeks to start picking out nursery colors? In fact why wait at all? Just decide, or should I say buy?
The technique is called Preimplanatation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). First, embryos are created in a lab from the parents sperm and egg. After fertilization and three days of incubation, an embryologist uses a laser to cut a hole through an embryos protective membrane and then picks out one of the eight cells. Using this cell, the babys gender is determined. If she is the sex her parents desire, she is implanted into her mother, but if he is not, he is destroyed. Destroyed for being a boy, or destroyed for being a girl. Their gender preserves their lives or predicts their deaths, while America looks on with indifference at best and support at worst.
Richard Miniter articulates the rules of sex-selection accurately: If the child had different characteristics, it would live. There is no other way to look at it. Thats why every industrial nation has restricted sex-selection, with the notable exception of the US.
Thirty-four nations currently prohibit sex selection either for medical purposes or all-together. A few might stun you: Russia, Canada, India and even China. In fact, multiple sources report that citizens of these nations come to the U.S. to have these procedures. Canada allocates tax dollars for abortions and in a bizarre case even released a woman charged with infanticide based on their abortion laws, but they dont allow gender selection. Shouldnt that set off a few alarm bells? The truth is many Americans respond affirmatively to these alarms. Some 86% of Americans surveyed believe that sex-selection abortion should be illegal, according to a 2006 Zogby poll.
If youre thinking to yourself, Im in that 86%, but Ive never even heard of PGD for sex selection, youre probably not alone. Clinics tailor their advertising to target audiences. Rather than erecting a billboard in the center of town, they enter online message boards, offering advertisements advice to predisposed women. While some might argue they provide an act of goodwill to these women desperate for a son, lets allow the numbers to speak for a minute. PGD for gender selection purposes is a $100 million dollar industry, bringing in about $18,000 for each of its 4,000-6,000 annual procedures. Clinics are not providing for a woman out of mere generosity; they are profiting from her for their personal gain. Gender selection services are not a goodwill charity; they are a moneymaking industry!
One more thought about the numbers. According to Dillon International, a U.S. adoption agency, $18,000 would cover a significant portion of an international adoption. The cost of 2 PGD treatments would fully cover an international adoption for over half of the countries in which they work, travel expenses included. There are orphaned girls and boys who are truly desperate to become sons and daughters. Someone has already chosen life for these children, perhaps this money could help grant them a family too.
Supporters of this industry espouse it as family balancing. As if to allude, too many daughters [or sons] would have a negative effect on a household. And while to some the language of family balancing sounds attractive in truth it is manipulative: the mother is influenced to believe shes making a proactive and positive decision for her family. The sellers of this industry want her to feel powerful. And for many this works.
I read the Amazon reviews for Chasing the Gender Dream, one womens experience with sex-selection. One anonymous reviewer wrote, If you are not comfortable with 50-50 odds, you will be assured throughout that you are not alone. If you are not comfortable with 50-50 odds... Couldnt this also be worded, if you are not comfortable with Gods plan for creating life? Throughout his life, Job learns a lot about the plans of God, and confidently responds to Him: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). With jargon like family balancing, exchange of thousands of dollars and requests for gender preferences, these doctors are painting the picture that a woman or couple can decide who they want to birth. In doing so, they smear a completed masterpiece of life with brushstrokes of death; they muddy the waters between the creation of life and the destruction of life, when in fact there is a very clear and critical distinction between these two realities. Even for those who do not hold a Christian worldview, the difference between creating life and destroying life is hugely significant. The Bible unequivocally declares the sex-selection choice to be a lie! Only the Creator of Life gets to decide gender and birth order. Anyone else who tries to intervene does not dictate gender, but sadly invites destruction.
After reviewing a study done in this field, Richard Miniter remarks, Simply, you cannot defy Mother Nature or the law of averages without extraordinary amounts of force. It comes in many forms: intimidation, violence, murder. Substitute God for Mother Nature and I couldnt agree more with his sentiments. Jasmeet Sidhus article in Slate Magazine, tells the story of one woman who spent nearly $40,000 to have a daughter because her first round of PGD failed; all embryos were discarded. These doctors have no greater way of choosing the sex of a child than you or I do. They simply have a more convenient (and expensive) way of disposing of those who dont make the chromosome cut.
So while the distributors of PGD entice America to choose gender, God urges us to choose life. The doctors try to say we can decide between boy or girl, but God says, See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. The doctors charge a woman for her preference, but God invites us to make a free selection. Lets be clear though, while we have free will, we do not have free consequences. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants," (Jeremiah 30:19 NASB).
May America recognize that life is determined by God, not dependent on gender.