Pro forma hand wringing?

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The New York Times has a piece which goes over the issue of genetic testing and abortion. Most of the coverage is given over to people who support abortion rights but are not particularly happy about the consequences of the rhetoric of “choice.” I’m not old enough to remember, but does this airing of “concerns” remind anyone of some of the sounds made when “test tube” babies were a big social issue? I suspect that most “progressives” given space in this article would concede the importance of points the disability rights activist person makes. That being said, I also suspect that they won’t do anything about the inevitable shift toward consumer genetics and the selective abortions of fetuses with disabilities.

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38 Comments

  1. “have had to grapple with the reality that the right to choose may well be used selectively to abort fetuses deemed genetically undesirable.” Are they completely mad? Surely it’s one of the most upright, proper reasons to have an abortion?

  2. Dudes, 
     
    You’ve said you don’t pay that much attention to the political blogosphere, so don’t be offended if I tell you that this has been all the rage there for the last week. I noticed this while scanning the CNS of the left (Atrios), which I read once in a while just to see what they’re buzzing about. 
     
    Big I: to give two examples, it’s been discussed by Michael Berube (left blogger; father of a Down’s kid) and George Will (right-wing; father of a Down’s kid). 
     
    GNXP types are likely to state what you did bluntly and autistically. That just doesn’t happen in the rest of the blogosphere.  
     
    IMO, Will says nothing he hasn’t said before a million times: he crudely accuses us of favoring genocide against a group of people who are no different from the rest of us (while admitting that his son has a genetic “defect”). Berube is making a much more sophisticated argument against the limits of individual autonomy. I grant him that…but isn’t the choice to have a Down’s child based upon the autonomy argument? It benefits Berube to have his Down’s child. What does it benefit the rest of society?

  3. Berube is making a much more sophisticated argument  
     
    Berube is the kind of person whose stock in trade is making stupidity sound “sophisticated” (e.g. when he maintained that liberals were *not* overrepresented on college campuses). Much like Brad Delong, or Victor Davis Hanson, or Belmont Club, or James Wolcott.  
     
    People like this are impotent in the face of greater technological firepower. Let them talk all they want. They will buy it when it is sold, whether they lie to themselves about it or not.  
     
    Of course, you don’t come out and tell them straight up that they *will* violate various leftist (and rightist) shibboleths. You don’t have to tell them, because they’re just going to do it, in the same way they put their kids into private schools to insulate them from dangerous urban minorities.

  4. No different? So he’ll hire a Down’s doctor next time he needs surgery? Bah, humbug.

  5. Will: 
     
    especially repulsive manifestation of today’s entitlement mentality—every parent’s “right” to a perfect baby.  
     
    Yes, parents should just accept that they will: 
     
    a) never have grandchildren 
    b) never have an adult conversation with their child 
    c) spend their old age caring for a child who cannot care for them 
     
    Berube: 
     
    We have worked in the academic field of ”disability studies”for about 10 years. … But on the other hand, autonomy is vastly overrated.  
     
    Do we really need to read any further? This is the same kind of totalitarian slop. Who wants to spend thirty years caring for a child with an incurable birth defect…or, worse, paying for some other person’s kid?  
     
    Note the common thread from both Will and Berube: quash personal autonomy. Interestingly enough, though, it’s personal autonomy that got them into this situation in the first place…for Down’s syndrome is much more likely to befall children of older (read: career) women.  
     
    In the long run, civilizations that hew to these kinds of outmoded taboos on reproduction are as doomed as those that prohibited usury.

  6. The Times neatly demonstrates just how muddled the abortion debate can become. Roe v. Wade, as Charles Krauthammer recently wrote, settled the legal status (by judicial fiat) of the fetus. Regardless of its status and attendant rights (if any) said rights are always subordinate to the rights of the mother. The fetus, especially in the first trimester, may always be destroyed should the mother choose so. 
     
    The Times notes, though, that some women intuit that the fetus has, in some cases, characteristics that make it worth keeping–ironically enough, a genetic defect–a quality that would prompt other women to abort the fetus. 
     
    Krauthammer suggests that Roe v. Wade short circuited the democratic debate that might have brought clarity, or at least consensus about the physical, moral, ethical, and legal status of the fetus. So long as the fetus remains a legal abstraction, confusion will dominate the debate.

  7. So long as the fetus remains a legal abstraction, confusion will dominate the debate. 
     
    that’s the public chattery face of the debate, it’s not reality. the abortion rights camp calls itself “pro-choice” as a rebranding effort, and the pro-life camp refers to a just-conceived zygote as a “baby,” but both these are conscious efforts to shift the perception with words. it isn’t about choice in any general sense, and it isn’t about babies qua babies until the fetus is more well developed.

  8. Discussions like this sometimes contain a badly misused word “perfect”. We’re not going to get perfect _anything_ from such technology. At best, you’ll remove defects and up IQ by a few points. What you’re really going to get is a human-equivilent of people’s general taste in things, ie, Thomas Kinkade. 
     
    Still be an improvement, though.

  9. At best, you’ll remove defects and up IQ by a few points. 
     
    well, someone could do a cost vs. benefit in terms of how much $$ we spend on those with congenital illnesses vs. other groups (i.e., the aged could win out there because more money might be freed up to minister to their needs).

  10. razib, 
     
    Agree, in part, that the “public chattery” face of the debate is not reality. It’s mostly spin, but I don’t think the entrenched positions, pro and con have any better grip. Thye’re playing hardball politics, of course, which is inevitable. But it’s my (probably naive) belief that we the people can debate this issue and resolve it democratically, but we apparently lack the interest, political will, and certainly the plitical leadership to do it. Absent that, we’ll have to settle for ridiculous sound bites. 
     
    We may not have the analytical or philosophical tools to determine with precision what it means to be human or when that status should be granted to a fetus, but I think we can make a choice, assess the consequences, and live with them. I think that discussion is essential, but I doubt it can happen in a meaningful way while Roe is the law of the land.

  11. 1. don’t underestimate the advantage *on average* of a couple IQ point increase — to individuals and to societies. 
     
    2. i read ?I thought it would be morally wrong to have an abortion for a child that had a genetic disability,? said Ms. Lester, a marketing manager in St. Louis. and thought “what kind of mother are you?” seriously — babies don’t come out of the ether and neither do their physical and psychological traits. a couple will only have a small number of children, and the actual children they have is an infinitesimal fraction of the set of possible children they could have conceived had the events of meiosis and fertilization (and development!) gone differently. why have a Downs child when you can have his/her non-Downs sibling?

  12. “for Down’s syndrome is much more likely to befall children of older (read: career) women.” 
     
    Wrong; out of date by many years. 80% of Down’s syndrome moms are younger women because they don’t get amnio. The majority of prospective 35+ moms get that and opt for abortion.  
     
    The most recent flareup over aborting Down’s fetuses came about as a result of new techology: sonograms & blood tests that will obviate the need for a 2nd trimester amnio. This will drastically cut down on #s of Down’s babies. Did you read the articles?? 
     
    In any case, I think this is a manufactured controversy, as is the controversy over “perfect” babies. I don’t think most parents want “perfect” babies – just babies that have a fighting chance to survive without them, should they die.

  13. About that 80% figure, I thought I saw it in the NY Times article but mixed it up with another one that I can’t find again. 
     
    I’m sure GC will challenge me, so… 
     
    However, of the total population, older mothers have fewer babies; about 75% of babies with Down syndrome are born to younger women because more younger women than older women have babies. Only about nine percent of total pregnancies occur in women 35 years or older each year, but about 25% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women in this age group.“ 
     
    OK, so I stand corrected. 9% of pregnancies equating to 25% of Down’s births does translate to “more likely.”

  14. Slightly OT, but does anyone know how George Will became the most well-known conservative columnist in the first place? As far as I can tell, he’s not a particularly good writer, nor is he particularly conservative, he’s like a slightly less gay version of Andrew Sullivan.

  15. Well, he used to sleep with Lally Weymouth (daughter of Kay Graham) during his first marriage, the one that produced his Down’s son. That didn’t hurt his career.

  16. gc: is much more likely to befall children of older (read: career) women 
    diana: Wrong…80% of Down’s syndrome moms are younger women because they don’t get amnio.  
     
    Ah, diana, but these two statements are not incompatible. The risk of having a child with Down’s syndrome spikes as the mother gets older, but older mothers account for a smaller proportion of all births. Had I said that “older mothers account for the vast majority of DS births”, you would have had me, but I try to be precise in my quantitative statements! :) 
     
    (PS: hope you didn’t feel i was personally attacking you above — just got on a tear, but upon rereading it might come across as a flame. It wasn’t a flame aimed at you, but at berube/will.)  
     
    Also, this is the key table. Risk jumps roughly 10X by each decade. Note that this is just for DS. All kinds of other stuff goes wrong (on average) when older women try to have babies.  
     
    RELATIONSHIP OF DOWN SYNDROME INCIDENCE TO MOTHERS’ AGE 
     
    Mothers Age 
     
    Incidence of Down Syndrome 
    Under 30 Less than 1 in 1,000 
    30 1 in 900 
    35 1 in 400 
    36 1 in 300 
    37 1 in 230 
    38 1 in 180 
    39 1 in 135 
    40 1 in 105 
    42 1 in 60 
    44 1 in 35 
    46 1 in 20 
    48 1 in 16 
    49 1 in 12

  17. he’s not a particularly good writer, nor is he particularly conservative  
     
    But this is a requirement for being a popular rightist in the mainstream media! A talented writer who was indisputably right wing would be too convincing. Think David Brooks or Sullivan. 
     
    By justifying policies in leftist terms (e.g. calling opposition to policy X “racist”), the house conservative helps to define the rightward edge of the acceptable boundaries of discourse. But a rightist is not speaking truth unless he has caused a leftist’s brain to shut down from splenetic, stereotyped outrage.

  18. Think David Brooks or Sullivan.  
     
    To clarify, these are fellows who are basically on the left edge of the right. Like Bush. Liberals do not realize that these people share their same basic worldview (meaning the axiom of equality and all consequent fallacious deductions).

  19. gc, 
     
    Thanks for stats but I saw my error – if 9% of pregnancies are women 35+ and 20 to 25% of down’s babies are born to them, that’s a “higher incidence.” 
     
    No, I didn’t take it personally but I think that imputing late pregnancy to “career women” is flat-out incorrect. Older mothers are not necessarily career women.  
     
    In any case, whatever Will & Berube think, the easier testing methods will drastically reduce the amount of Down’s babies born to both younger & older women. The articles have focused on younger women but older mothers will take advantage of the new technology as well. We can be absolutely sure of that. A blood test & sonogram is much less costly & invasive than amnio. With such a trivial cost weighed against a potentially massive burden, how many people will chance the latter?

  20. By publishing these statistics, doctors also decrease the number of Downs kids, since if you can’t abide the idea of having an abortion (my wife and I are like this), you have to *really* think about whether you’re willing to take the 1/230 risk of having a Downs kid.  
     
    We watched some friends go through having a Downs baby (with no indications at all in the amnio or the ultrasound), who survived just over a year of intense, constant medical intervention. I wouldn’t wish that ordeal on my worst enemy.

  21. I think that imputing late pregnancy to “career women” is flat-out incorrect. Older mothers are not necessarily career women.  
     
    Flat-out incorrect?!? Ha! Older mothers are far more likely to be career women.  
     
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070511080340.htm 
     
    Delayed mothers tended to have more education and higher economic status than other groups 
     
    http://www.imperial.ac.uk/P2688.htm 
     
    The researchers found many of the variations in the threetraits were controlled by social factors such as religion and education (5). For example, Roman Catholic women had 20 per cent higher reproductive fitness than other religions. University educated women had 35 per cent lower fitness than those who left school as early as possible. 
     
     
     
    “I was staggered by the results we got,” said Dr Owens. “When we decided to control for these factors, I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it. I thought, ‘let’s just run with the analysis’. But there was a massive difference in the number of children born to families with a religious affiliation. Many of the Catholic twins we studied had an average family of five children, where other families were having only one or two children. 
     
    “We also found that mothers with more education were typically having just one child at an older age.  
     
    Their reproductive fitness was much lower than their peers who left school as early as possible. Again, and again, our analyses for these two factors came back with the same results.” 
     
    Come on Diana, you really dispute this? Women who have children when young tend to be uneducated, religious high school dropouts. Women who bear children late in life are far more likely to be highly educated and have a high paying job.  
     
    This is an issue that has a lot of complex facets; for one, in the cases where it all works out, older mothers tend to be happier than pregnant teens.  
     
    But the thing that I’m driving at is that “Sex Ed” in schools is incomplete without this chart:  
     
    http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/preconception/fertilityproblems/6155.html 
     
    being drilled into every head. (Male fertility levels drop off too, but not as dramatically, though kids of older males are at risk for things like schizophrenia.) Yet the feminist response is to look at this as some kind of scientific conspiracy, e.g.:  
     
    http://punkassblog.com/2006/10/24/daily-mail-offers-a-sneak-peak-at-2007s-elegant-new-hey-shouldnt-you-be-breeding-talking-point/ 
     
    Heh. That’s a Darwin Award winner if I ever saw one.  
     
    Bottom line: if you want to have optimally healthy kids with current technology, have them before 30 if you’re female and not long after if you’re male. This doesn’t rule out a job, but it does mean that women who want the CEO or tenure-track jobs need to think long and hard about tradeoffs rather than blithely imbibing feminist lies.

  22. Come on Diana, you really dispute this? Women who have children when young tend to be uneducated, religious high school dropouts. Women who bear children late in life are far more likely to be highly educated and have a high paying job.  
     
    Women who have their first child late in life, sure – but good Catholic women should keep having kids late in life too, right? :)

  23. We watched some friends go through having a Downs baby (with no indications at all in the amnio or the ultrasound), who survived just over a year of intense, constant medical intervention. I wouldn’t wish that ordeal on my worst enemy.  
     
    That is tough. My ire above is only directed at feminists who live in a la-la land where biology is a patriarchal fiction which doesn’t matter.  
     
    That is, I think it’s funny when feminists end up without kids. The fact that Amanda Marcotte’s line will die out with her is a boon to all humanity, and a silver line to the current dysgenic cloud.  
     
    But when it happens to people who know about h-bd? Then it’s not funny at all. Tough choice, tough choice. A friend of mine was in this situation; fortunately for his genes [though he didn't see it that way at the time], his wife cheated on him and they got a divorce. He ended up with a younger woman and his 2nd kid is on the way. Her? Alone as a 40 year old adjunct at some no-name place.

  24. Women who have their first child late in life, sure – but good Catholic women should keep having kids late in life too, right? :)  
     
    I recall seeing some evidence to indicate that women who start having kids earlier are also fertile for a longer period.  
     
    Fertility is, after all, a complex phenomenon which involves both psychological and physical variables. Over time alleles predisposing to fertility will tend to covary (that is natural selection after all), such that these women may have both a higher reproductive drive and better tools for the job.  
     
    Now, the key bit there is “over time” as some of the alleles predisposing to fertility today (e.g. low IQ) were not so favorable yesterday. But other loci, like the Icelandic inversion story, are more murky. I doubt that selection pressure on *all* loci is radically different from the recent past , so there should be some allelic (and hence phenotypic) covariance.

  25. these people share their same basic worldview (meaning the axiom of equality and all consequent fallacious deductions) 
     
    sullivan
    Summers is putting his finger on one of liberalism’s great contemporary problems: how to reconcile the moral equality of human beings and the political equality of citizens with increasingly accurate scientific discoveries of aspects of human life that reflect our innate, biological inequality. The problem is intractable; and the more we try and solve this problem, the worse it can get. The better we get at improving the educational or social environment, or enlarging opportunity, the more tenacious and obvious our genetic differences will seem. That goes from individual to individual, but it also might apply to groups in certain categories. The most prominent of such groups is gender. What Summers is saying, in this sense, is simply undeniable: Men and women are biologically different in some fundamental ways, and their differences may not be merely superficial. 
     
    This doesn’t mean–shouldn’t mean–that any individual man or woman should ever be given less of an opportunity to express his or her varying and unequal talents. What it does mean is that not all social inequality is man-made

  26. gc: I wouldn’t call it funny for anyone, but it surely hits people harder when they just flat don’t know, or don’t want to believe about biology that contradicts their beliefs. (Do creationists ever refuse to take the newest antibiotic, on the theory that drug-resistance can’t possibly be evolving in bacteria, so pennicillin should be just fine?)  
     
    As a society, we’ve worked out a pretty painful tradeoff for women–if they want to have a top-tier career, it’s quite hard for them to have children, because that’s five or six years out of the job market/grad school/whatever, that are hard to make back up. See that wonderful, painful post on From the Archives for a sense of this. On the other hand, men can generally have kids and survive it.  
     
    When my wife was doing her masters, she got pregnant, and she was just about the only pregnant woman on campus. She said her younger classmates tended to be excited about the baby and interested, while the older married classmates shied away from her as though she were contagious. (I assume this was because they were also hearing the loud ticking of their biological clocks, as opposed to the loud ticking of the clock on writing their theses and getting jobs.)  
     
    I don’t know a good solution to this, but we ought to be trying to find one. It can’t be reasonable to have high-functioning women pushed out of having kids, or pushed into having kids at high risk of problems, or pushed into giving up their aspirations for a demanding career so they can have kids. While the biology is not in our control, the other stuff probably is.  
     
    There’s an obvious dysgenic effect to having smart, driven women unable to start having kids till very late in the window of safe times to have kids. I wonder if there are other, more subtle, effects.

  27. bioIgnoramus (first post): 
     
    Yeah, this seems weird to me. Imagine two cases: 
     
    Alice has an abortion because she doesn’t want to mess up her career by having kids yet. 
     
    Barbara has an abortion because she’s been told she’s going to have a terribly ill child who likely won’t make it to adulthood.  
     
    I’m baffled that Alice could be considered morally superior to Barbara in this case. I could see considering them to be the same, but not finding a moral issue with Barbara that you didn’t have with Alice, too.

  28. gc, 
     
    Do me a favor. Learn the difference between “not necessarily” career women and “far more likely”. OK?  
     
    As for the rest of the stuff you write, I don’t care to engage.

  29. albatross, 
     
    But I think there is a solution for women who wanta career AND kids – namely to harvest ova in her 20′s, have them frozen, then unfreeze in her 40′s… am I wrong?

  30. diana: awww, c’mon, you know i mean no harm. (and in any case, the phrase i took issue with was “flat out incorrect”, not “not necessarily”) 
     
    p-ter: goodpoint.  
     
    sullivan is bipolar on the issue, though, as is brooks. I get the feeling that they would jump to the other side [whatever that might be] if they wouldn’t be socially ostracized for it. But (IMO) they do too much triangulation to really be h-bd aware

  31. albatross:  
     
     
    I don’t know a good solution to this, but we ought to be trying to find one. It can’t be reasonable to have high-functioning women pushed out of having kids, or pushed into having kids at high risk of problems, or pushed into giving up their aspirations for a demanding career so they can have kids. While the biology is not in our control, the other stuff probably is.
     
     
    I think there are technological fixes on the horizon.

  32. gc, 
     
    I’ll tell you what really annoyed me – that you jump all over Berube and gave George Will a pass. And said all sorts of nasty shit about Marcotte — what the hell has she ever done to you? They might believe some silly stuff but fundamentally they are benign and harmless. If they hurt anyone, its themselves. If poor Amanda Marcotte ends up alone & childless, that’s her problem. I salute your friend who ditched his two-timing wife & found true love. But didn’t you once say on these comment lines that “high status men don’t get married”? I remember challenging you to give me an example of one high-status man who was unmarried, and you didn’t. (This was a while ago.) 
     
    George Will, OTOH, is a fat cat who basically believes in fat-cat-ocracy and little else. Then he has the balls to accuse people who believe in controlling their fertility sensibly of GENOCIDE!! And you jump all over Berube for making a tortured but harmless argument about autonomy.  
     
    Feminists and feminism seems to drive you up a wall. Maybe you’d be happier living in a society where women are in chains. There are quite a few of those. You could go to one.  
     
    People who start social movements tend to be a bit wacky, but on the whole feminism has helped society. I suggest you read a book about what life in the US was like in the 19th century before eeevil people like Margaret Sanger (spare me the gibes about eugenics, I know it already) crusaded for birth control. Guys couldn’t get laid except for prostitutes & their wives. They gave their wives syphilis. Maternal death rates were horrific and many kids died of the effects of the clap and syph their fathers gave their mothers. Is this what you would like to bring back?  
     
    You just hate women who don’t have dyed blonde hair and gel pack tits. And a woman who doesn’t fit into your ideals is a pathetic object of ridicule. I suppose that would include me, as well. So be it. I don’t really give a shit.

  33. To albatross and gc, I’m going to have to call shenanigans on the assertion: 
     
    We watched some friends go through having a Downs baby (with no indications at all in the amnio or the ultrasound), who survived just over a year of intense, constant medical intervention. I wouldn’t wish that ordeal on my worst enemy. 
     
    which I flat-out disbelieve. Else, methinks you fundamentally misunderstand what amniocentesis (specifically the analysis of fetal DNA, counting the number of chromosomes) is meant to do. How else to explain an “amnio” which failed to identify Trisomy 21, aka Down Syndrome? 
     
    Care to revise and extend your remarks for the record? 
     
    (& it should go without saying, but one never knows… I mean to imply no disrespect toward any parents – real or imagined – who might suffer a year of medical intervention on their child.)

  34. Else, methinks you fundamentally misunderstand what amniocentesis (specifically the analysis of fetal DNA, counting the number of chromosomes) is meant to do. How else to explain an “amnio” which failed to identify Trisomy 21, aka Down Syndrome? 
     
    don’t be such a fucking smartass. it’s possible to miss a case of an inherited translocation trisomy 21, and a mosaic trisomy 21 (that is, trisomy in some tissues but not others) could easily not show up in an amnio.

  35. I’ll tell you what really annoyed me – that you jump all over Berube and gave George Will a pass.  
     
    The difference is that we all know that George Will is a moron (or at least, I thought it was assumed). But Berube’s argument isn’t sophisticated. It’s retardation of exactly the same stripe.  
     
    And said all sorts of nasty shit about Marcotte — what the hell has she ever done to you?  
     
    Hahahahaha! Now we are supposed to consider *Amanda Marcotte* “benign and harmless”. Boy. Let’s be clear, the woman is both stupid and evil. Remember Marcotte on Duke? We’ve had run ins with her as well:  
     
    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2006/07/pandagon-attacks-bell-jar_04.php  
     
    didn’t you once say on these comment lines that “high status men don’t get married”  
     
    I can’t believe I ever said that. I may have said that high-status men *shouldn’t* get married (normative statement), or that high-status men are likely to practice serial monogamy (factual statement). But I doubt I ever said that high-status men “don’t get married”.  
     
    Maternal death rates were horrific and many kids died of the effects of the clap and syph their fathers gave their mothers. Is this what you would like to bring back?  
     
    Huh? I seriously doubt that STD prevalence was anything like what you point out, and I fail to see how feminism and the sexual revolution has made men *less* likely to see prostitutes when married.  
     
    I also think you credit activists with developments that are better credited to penicillin, condoms, and modern medicine. Let’s be clear, women’s liberation happened because of the washing machine and World War 2. That is, it is only because of technological improvements (washer, dryer, microwave, vacuum cleaner, etc.) that housework became less than a full time job.  
     
    By denying biology, feminism has brought much unhappiness to both women and men by persuading (most) women to act like men and (many) men to act like women (though women, overall, have gotten a far worse deal).  
     
    One can make an accomodation between biology and modernity, but not if you deny biology. I mean, sure, there are some androgen cases who really are happier going to toe-to-toe with men who are ready and willing to put in 100 hours a week. But they are not very common.  
     
    There are tons of possible recommendations one could make for our civilization given the current genetic constraints on male/female behavior. But our current genetic constraints will not be constraints for long, so social engineering can run hand in hand with genetic engineering. Welcome to a world of 36-24-36 nurturing and faithful nymphomaniacs, and 6’3″ broad shouldered providers.  
     
    women who don’t have dyed blonde hair and gel pack tits.  
     
    Not a fan of blonds. But gel pack tits? Hooray! :)

  36. Care to revise and extend your remarks for the record?  
     
    Care to use google? :) 
     
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=27284 
     
    Psychological consequences for parents of false negative results on prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome: retrospective interview study 
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8798301&dopt=Abstract 
     
    We report 2 cases where prenatal cytogenetic studies following amniocentesis yielded false negative results. Both mothers requested termination of pregnancy but were reassured by the normal chromosome analysis and therefore continued their pregnancies. When cytogenetic studies were repeated in the neonatal period, they demonstrated chromosomal abnormalities, which were confirmed when the initial specimens from amniocentesis were reviewed. Because of our findings, we suggest that if prenatal chromosome analysis is reported as normal, where there is a high index of suspicion of a chromosome abnormality, the result should be questioned and neonatal chromosome analysis undertaken.

  37. a woman who doesn’t fit into your ideals is a pathetic object of ridicule.  
     
    Hmmm. I don’t think GNXP is “The Superficial”. I just don’t spend too many cycles thinking about women qua women if they are not attractive, and I might write about unattractive girls in the abstract but not in the specific.  
     
    If you will note, my comments were almost entirely directed at what some women think/advocate (e.g. feminism and anti-science ideology). Obviously I have no problems with intelligent women as *conversation partners*, regardless of their appearance.  
     
    I feel sorry for older women (e.g. as interviewed by Sylvia Ann Hewlett) who’ve come to the overdue realization that feminist brainwashing has cheated them out of children and a husband. But I feel no sympathy for Maureen Dowd types who are incapable of introspection by age 50. She doesn’t understand that her confused ideology is what’s left her alone.  
     
    The third class of older women are those who did manage to have it all (professional job, kids, husband). But a huge fraction of these women had housekeepers. That’s feasible for now, but only for a society which has both wealthy couples and trustworthy poor women.

  38. Why is it I’m always chuckling after gc-social observations when you’d think a gal would be gnashing her teeth. 
    let’s see… 
    “I feel sorry for older women (e.g. as interviewed by Sylvia Ann Hewlett) who’ve come to the overdue realization that feminist brainwashing has cheated them out of children and a husband.” 
     
    You’re not the type to feel sorry for anybody, so stifle the pity-noises, gc. I haven’t encountered too many women without the above-mentioned package, who have regrets, 
    though one goofette I know did marry at 47, continued to use birth control, and then fumed when she couldn’t reproduce at 52. But she’s a special case.  
     
    “The third class of older women are those who did manage to have it all (professional job, kids, husband) [but they had housekeepers}” 
     
    Not on my planet, sadly. Most (including a beautiful, high level, NASA scientist) had to do most of it themselves, although some do have Lupe who comes in for a few hours on Saturday. 
     
    “But our current genetic constraints will not be constraints for long, so social engineering can run hand in hand with genetic engineering. Welcome to a world of 36-24-36 nurturing and faithful nymphomaniacs, and 6’3″ broad shouldered providers.” 
     
    I’m sorry–with all this engineering, which is the lady? the gent?  
     
    You do constrain your concept of constraints. Such may eventually include de-constrained female fertility, something of which we are already on an awkward frontier. The whole biology of aging is on the operating table, though not soon enough to affect my IRA. How about yours? Never too soon to start. 
     
    “..Obviously I have no problems with intelligent women as *conversation partners*, regardless of their appearance.  
     
    That’s very big of you (and practical should you ever experience vision problems), but listening is an essential part of the conversation process. You miss so much without it.

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