A few years after I drifted away from the religious community, whenever an ambulance wailed by me, I found that I was still thinking: May they be going to deliver a healthy Jewish boy.
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard an overt statement in the religious community that boy babies are better than girl babies, but every single story I was ever told as a child, about God saving a childless couple, ended with: and a year later, they had a healthy baby boy!
A boy? Never a girl?
It’s a preference that’s much more strongly articulated in some Asian countries, where female fetuses are sometimes aborted – or worse. Stories abound of Chinese midwives bringing water to a birth – to wash up, if the baby was a boy, to drown the child, if it was a girl.
Now there’s a new blood test that claims it can accurately predict the sex of an embryo at seven weeks, and some people are afraid this will dramatically increase the rates of sex selective abortion.
Do you think that’s a problem?
It concerns me – it perpetuates a degradation of females and, in large numbers, could contribute to frightening sex inequalities and imbalances and social problems. But, at the same time, I certainly have no problem with individuals trying various conception tricks (diets, timing of conception etc) to push their luck towards one sex or the other. What’s the difference?
I guess for me, I believe a seven week embryo has some (small) right to life. Treading into other, complicated territory, even though I’m an ardent feminist, I have cautious attitudes towards abortion without medical or emotional cause. Although even here, my reasoning fails me – for some families, having a girl comes at a significant emotional cost….
I’m left with more questions than answers. Ethics without God is complicated.Printable Version