Society, envisioned in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, is one in which all human reproduction is subject to laboratory regimentation. That frightening world of experimentation may be closer than you think. Recent developments in cloning, test-tube babies and genetic manipulation are currently "the main attraction" of new scientific "miracles." Though somewhat less well-known, yet another prodigious scientific achievement threatens to complete Huxley's scenario. Through two distinct processes, it is now possible for parents to have a child of the sex of their choice.
An experimental sperm separation technique pioneered in 1973 by reproductive physiologist Dr. Ronald Ericson of Sausahto, California, is 75 percent effective in producing a male child. A method has not yet been developed to ensure a similar success ratio for female offspring. Using a test tube filled with dense layers of increasing percentages of serum albumin — a protein found in human blood — Dr. Eric-son filters the majority of female (x) chromosomes out of the sperm he will use for insemination. He is able to do so because male-producing sperm swim through the filters faster than female-producing sperm. Thus, the bottom layer of the test tube contains a proportionally higher amount of male (y) chromosome bearing sperm with which the mother-to-be is artificially inseminated.
The second human-devised process is 100 percent effective. It involves the use of a procedure called amniocentesis and, if necessary, abortion. In this process, originally intended as a test to screen birth defects in high-risk mothers, a sample of amniotic fluid is drawn out of the abdomen of a woman 16 to 18 weeks pregnant- After two to four weeks, test results will reveal most common birth defects, as well as the sex of the child. It must be pointed out that most doctors try to screen out those who merely want to determine the child's sex in order to decide whether to keep the fetus or not. However, physicians also admit that many women have faked their family history in order to persuade the doctor to perform the test. And in most cases, the doctor has no means of verifying the woman's information. Many women (no one knows how many), therefore, are able to take an amniocentesis and make the decision of whether or not to keep the developing child solely based on the test's determination of its sex. This of course means the unwanted unborn girl or boy may be aborted so that the couple can then try again to get the child of the sex of their choice.
Many in the medical profession are awaiting further studies on sperm separation techniques before making any final judgments. But the use of amniocentesis as a sex selection tool has come under fire from an unexpected and ironic quarter: pro-abortionists and feminists. At a symposium on human reproduction in 1980, Ms Roberta Steinbacher, head of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University, said "It is clear that sex preselection research has far outdistanced serious discussion of its ethical, social, legal and demographic implications." Calling the implications for women "staggering," Ms Steinbacher explained that the result of widespread use of sex preselection would increase the percentage of males in the human population because of the preference for sons by most parents. Reports coming out of the People's Republic of China indicate that many mothers-to-be are making sure that the government-sanctioned one child per family for city dwellers is a male. In one report, a test group of 30 couples opted for an abortion after a selection test- Of the 30 couples, 29 did so solely because their child was determined to be a female. Says Ms Steinbacher, "Suppose it's all a matter of free choice or rights to privacy. The next person can say, 'I've got the wrong color eyes,' I mean, where does it stop?" Where does it stop indeed? Does it end with sex selection, euthanasia, genocide? What about the already 50 million victims of abortion? It would seem that science and the pro-abortion groups have opened a Pandora's box. Aside from the obvious immediate costs in human life from abortions as a result of an amniocentesis, there are also hidden costs. The mothers-to-be who are undergoing these casual abortions to get the girl or boy they want may not be able to accomplish their goal. Studies in Eastern Europe indicate that one abortion increases incidence of premature births 14 percent. Two abortions increase the incidence to 18 percent, and three to 24 percent. There is also a 17.5 percent (compared to the current 7.39) rate of miscarriage in women who have had one abortion. In addition, the chances of a child dying during labor are doubled in cases where the mother has had an abortion.
A Threat to Balance of the Sexes
Many like Ms Steinbacher are asking why sex selection is allowed to continue. They clearly see sex selection as a definite threat to the balance of the sexes. They do not, however, view sex selection as simply one more step beyond the threshold of abortion. For the pro-abortionists to admit that it is just as wrong to abort a human life because it is of the wrong sex as it is to do so because a child might inconvenience a woman at a particular time, would be to retreat on the issue of abortion altogether. They have become trapped in their own rhetoric. For years, editor-in-chief Herbert W. Armstrong has informed readers of The Plain Truth of the two ways of life: the way of "give" and the way of "get." He has warned that our society is living the way of get — the way of selfish desire. The blatant disregard for the life of an unborn child by his or her mother aptly fits this biblical prophecy: "... in the last days... men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous... without natural affection... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (II Tim. 3:1-4). The very rights which pro-abortionists have secured for women — the presumed right to control her own body (abortion) — are now imperiling even more unborn lives solely because their sex may be female. The world has forgotten God's law. And without the moral absolutes given therein, it has become lost in a sea of false ideals and misinformation. The same sense of inquiry that brought us nuclear weaponry, continues to forge ahead toward new problems. Soon it may not be a matter of surviving a nuclear war or survival of the fittest. Rather, it may be a matter of survival of only the selected in the womb.