Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doctor Treating Pregnant Women to Prevent Lesbian and Unfeminine Babies

The Bio-Ethics Forum at the Hastings Institute is reporting about the use of a controversial drug to prevent lesbian babies and little girls who display an "abnormal" disinterest in babies, don't want to play with girls' toys or become mothers, and whose "career preferences" are deemed too "masculine." 

Dr. Maria New, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University  has drawn fire for overstepping in her use of the drug, dexamethasone (dex), a hormone used to treat female fetuses for a condition called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), a gestational condition resulting in the "masculinization" of female genitalia. This is the first time the drug has been used for the purpose of changing sexual orientation or the degree of femininity in little girls. There have been no clinical trials to support the use of dex in this manner.

Alice Dreger, Ellen K. Feder, Anne Tamar-Mattis of The Hastings Center write on the Bioethiocs Forum:
While everyone has been busy watching geneticists at the frontier of the brave new world, none of us seem to have noticed what some pediatricians are up to. Perhaps it is because so many people are fascinated by the idea of a “gay gene” that prenatal “lesbian hormones” have slipped past public scrutiny. In any case, we think Nimkarn and New’s “paradigm for prenatal diagnosis and treatment” suggests a reason why activists for gay and lesbian rights should be wary of believing that claims for the innateness of homosexuality will lead to liberation. Evidence that homosexual orientation is inborn could, instead, very well lead to new means of pathologization and prevention, as it seems to be in the case we’ve been tracking.

Needless to say, we do not think it reasonable or just to use medicine to try to prevent homosexual and bisexual orientations. Nor do we think it reasonable to use medicine to prevent uppity women, like the sort who might raise just these kinds of alarms. Consider that our declaration of our conflict of interest.
Wow! Now reparative therapy can happen in vitro without all the pesky psychological damage. What part of "we don't need to be fixed" do they not understand? 
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