Monday, November 17

That's how i was raised, and i turned out tv

Interesting issue brought up by an episode of boston legal. This is a show written by david e kelly, a big time liberal. It seems that the show is about abortion rights because a 15 year old wants to get an abortion but in MA she needs a parent's signiture, and her mom refuses to give permision. So the main character, a champion of liberal causes, immediately takes the case, and goes on about how outrageous it is that she needs a parents permission. But we find out that in fact permision is virtually always granted, and the real issue of the episode is that this girl is the daughter of a chinese immigrant, and she is aborting the child because it is a girl. According to the episode (which i believe is accurate) abortion rates of girls is significantly higher in chinese immigrant populations in the US, and of course in china. So should she be allowed to have an abortion simply because she doesn't want a girl. Of course there are no laws regarding why you want an abortion, nor could they be possibly be enforceable. This is of course an interesting question, and one that we are just scratching the surface of. The gay community for instance was in an uproar earlier about attempts to tie gayness to some genes. They were afraid that people would start testing their fetus for gay genes, and aborting potentially gay fetuses. Gayness is not as simple as some gene because identical twins don't always have the same sexual orientation, but as we move further towards decoding genetics, and assuming abortions are legal, we could easily be moving closer and closer to a gattica type situation. Even if you couldn't choose for the perfect baby, you could choose to abort a baby because of specfic charactersitcs. From what i understood they already do it for down syndrome, which is why it was a big deal that sarah palin did not abort her down syndrome baby. In gattica they fertilize several eggs (the number of total fertilized is not clear, but there were 4 to choose from at the end of the process) beyond simple abortion this could be fairly close also. Fertilize a few dozen eggs, get genetic tests and then implant the best one. If you don't believe that life/soul/rights start at conception then it's not a huge deal, but what should parents be allowed to choose. What if people all start choosing to have only straight children. Or what if lesbians get sperm donors and decide they want to have only gay children, etc. you decide your child should be a concert pianist and so you have him born with 12 fingers (gattica) you are entering some troubling moral territory.


Blogger Aras said...

i've always been a big proponent of gattaca, though i haven't watched the movie since i became pro-life. i guess i should watch it again, because the way you described it made me less certain than i always used to be that i want valid children.

i'd also be interested to know what the church's position is on test tube babies. also, what about zombies, ala pet cemetary? do they have souls?

8:32 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

Well scientifically i'm sure there is any requirement of multiple conceptions. If DNA could be tested seperately from sperm and eggs, they could find a match, fertilize it, and not have to dispose of left over embryos. I don't know, maybe sperm and eggs are to small to get DNA from so they need an embryo with multiple cells to test it. I haven't seen the movie recently but i recall fairly clearly that their were multiple fertilizations, 2 health boys, and 2 very healthy girls.

But even if we could get it down to a single fertilization so life at conception was not an issue, there still is a question of what the world would be like if we could choose everything about our children, and would that world be better than this one. how many girls would their be, how many comedians would their be, how many gays would their be, etc. I am a big fan of comedy, but i doubt many parents want to raise comics (if there is such a gene)

2:35 AM  
Blogger Aras said...

Are you kidding? Comedian would be pretty high on my list. I do want to have more kids than the average family, but I think there's enough people that want four or five kids kids that there'd be enough comedians. I mean, what's better to have around all the time than somebody who's hilarious? Here's my list, off the top of my head:

Business Tycoon

The reason I put business tycoon last is that with gene manipulation you gotta assume any kids is going to excel so much that he'll be able to make plenty of money. But to be honest, I might have to switch four and five if we decided to stop at four kids. But the business tycoon would be last either way, cause I think I'll want more financial support from my kids the older I get.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Trashcan said...

Priest? that's a good one. You are going to genetically engineer one of your sons to be a catholic priest? I wonder what the pope will have to say about that idea.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Aras said...

Maybe I should have him engineered even more specifically, to be the fuckin Pope!

3:46 AM  

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