Science has brought us many wonderful things, but it sometimes gets picked up as a blunt instrument by people with deeply screwed up ideas about what is right and wrong. Worried your unborn female child might grow up to be uninterested in having children, or attracted to “traditionally masculine” career choices? Or – heaven forfend! – homosexual? Fear not: pediatric endocrinologist Maria New of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine reckons that her experimental hormone treatment for pregnant women can ensure the birth of little girls who think and act just like Jeebus and the Founding Fathers would have wanted. [That link via Cheryl Morgan; MeFi links to PZ Myers’ take on the same story.]
I don’t know which makes me more angry: that a medical practitioner – herself a woman! – could come up with such a plan and still sleep at night, or that there will be thousands of people who will be happy to have the body chemistry of their unborn child tampered with so long as it can prevent them turning out to be one of The Gays. So much for the Western societal myth of parental love being unconditional, not to mention the one about doctors being ethical.
In case you’re thinking “well, it’s a matter of parental choice, surely?”- try reversing the polarity of the story and thinking about how the guardians of public morals would respond. If a doctor announced a hormonal treatment that could ensure the expression of characteristics opposite to those traditionally associated with the sex of the child in question – a way of *gasp* manufacturing queers! – there’d be a white trash jihad on their home and clinic within hours of the news breaking. Hi-ho, heteronormativity.