Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Wanted Child: It’s in the Genes

I was watching a rerun of Law & Order which had to do with a doctor’s office that was bombed because the doctor claimed to have found the “gay gene,” the genetic marker for homosexuality. The implications were that if there is a “gay gene,” that then expecting parents would start screening their children for this gene and decide whether or not to abort their baby, much like they screen for downs syndrome to make the same decision. Therefore, I felt led to write this entry.

Now, I don’t believe that there is a gay gene, but that’s not the focus of my writing today. Actually, I will say this, that if homosexuality is in the genetic coding, it remains wrong to have an abortion because your fetus has the gene. Aborting a life is wrong whether that life is prone to homosexuality or downs syndrome or any other thing one might deem an “imperfection” that one may find in the genes.

Think about it, if all of our future could be sought out in our DNA, would any of us have been born?

On the one hand, we could wipe out all the hardships of life. Is criminality –murder, thievery, rape- in the genes? Let’s abort those crimes by aborting the life with the crime gene making the person prone to committing heinous crimes. What about cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis? That’s a tough life to live, let’s abort that. On the other hand, where would it end? Where should the line be drawn?

In the L&O episode, it’s revealed to the gay suspect that his brother wants to abort his baby because it was screened and found to have the gay gene. The brother loves his brother the suspect, and supposedly would love a homosexual son, but the problem is that he’s watched his gay brother have such a painful and lonely life. He wouldn’t wish that kind of life on anyone.

So, hypothetically, if there is a gay gene and people would be willing to abort their baby because of it, something the baby had no control over because it is, or would be, who they are and have a tough life because of it, how far are people willing to go? What of the baby who has the obesity gene? A life of obesity still carries with it the hardships of loneliness, teasing, and oftentimes ostracism; should the baby who has no control over their future obesity be aborted? Is that the definition of humane practice?

How about your life? Were you born with no implications of complications, born with two arms, two legs, working eyes and ears, in all respects “normal?” How easy has your life been?

What about me? If I’m going to make it personal, let me make it personal. When I was younger, I had severe rash. I itched so bad. My skin certainly did not feel comfortable, did not look like the smooth soft skin of anyone around me. It was scaly, it was coarse. No lotion or ointment in the world could ease the itch or fix the look of it. I found no relief when I was young.

Would it have been considered loving and humane for my parents to have spared me those years of discomfort and ridicule by not allowing my life at all? I did suffer some ridicule, as I remember having been pointed to and asked, “Waddis dat? You get lizard skin!” Thankfully, the embarrassment didn’t go further than that and I continued to have good friends who didn’t care. I still carry the scars of the discolored skin and deep wrinkling in the areas where the rash had been, but it did clear up after many years. Every so often, it flares up but fades away quickly now.

I have acne, as many people do. I didn’t have it as bad as others I have known, but I would get a huge festering goop-filled zit every so often. I remember I had one right on the upper end of my cheek by my eye that I could not hide nor cover up; you would meet me and see IT. I was about 15. I went to visit the intermediate school to help with a band event. The daughter of the director saw IT, went to her friends and said loudly, “Look at that ZIT! Gross!” It was humiliating and I was sure, I mean, she had said it aloud but I was sure there were others who just thought it when they saw me. My skin has cleared up a lot but I still have small outbreaks now and then. Imagine my parents screening for acne and sparing their daughter’s humiliation and pain.

Some want what they want. They want a “normal” child, but what child is normal? What is normal? They want a child with great intelligence, so abort the fetus with downs syndrome. They want a healthy, easy to care for child, so abort the fetus with muscular dystrophy; we’ll just try again for a “normal” child. They want a son first, so abort the female fetus. Think about it, they can already tell the gender early through ultrasound and so what’s to stop a woman from choosing to abort her male fetus because she wants a female fetus, or a woman thinks she can only financially support one child and finds she’s pregnant with triplets. I’m not knocking ultrasound because it is useful to know things beforehand in preparation, and through organizations like Focus on the Family, women are choosing against aborting their baby because they can see the baby clearly through ultrasound.

And to get back to the L&O episode, every parent would hope for a good life for their child, a life with lots of friends, no teasing, no hurt feelings, no beatings. The implication is that if the gay gene could be screened for, since homosexuals continue to be largely unaccepted in society and so have the opposite of the "good life" that parents hope for their child, they would have the fetus with the gay gene aborted.

Now, I do not believe in someone being born a homosexual, but that person is human, is made in the image of God, is valuable. Homosexuality, as all the other things I’ve mentioned, may it be genetic or otherwise, is no reason for abortion. The Pro-Life position as I see it makes no exception as to orientation, gender, health, easy life, etc. Nor does it make exception for foresight into the evil bent of the coming child. It makes no exception to the right to life of a fetus whatsoever.

What's in all of our genes? Humanness, our right to life.

A note to my homosexual friends: I hope I have not made any statement that has offended you. If I have, I apologize now for that is never my intent. Please contact me privately if I ever say something to offend and I will take the matter into consideration. I have tried to be clear as to my thoughts on the matter. It may be difficult in that in my faith I might not be able to fully understand you the way you might want me to, but it is certainly not difficult to love you and count you as friends.