Main | Wednesday, June 30, 2010

FLORIDA: Doctor Treats Pregnant Women With Drug To Prevent Gay Babies

Last night Dan Savage emailed us with the tip that a doctor in Florida is treating pregnant women with a drug she hopes will prevent babies from being born lesbian. Savage:
Pediatric endocrinologist Maria New—of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University—isn't just trying to prevent lesbianism by treating pregnant women with an experimental hormone. She's also trying to prevent the births of girls who display an "abnormal" disinterest in babies, don't want to play with girls' toys or become mothers, and whose "career preferences" are deemed to "masculine." Unbelievable.
From the Bioethics Forum:
“Gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized in 46,XX girls and women with 21OHD deficiency [CAH]. These abnormalities have been attributed to the effects of excessive prenatal androgen levels on the sexual differentiation of the brain and later on behavior.” Nimkarn and New continue: “We anticipate that prenatal dexamethasone therapy will reduce the well-documented behavioral masculinization...” It seems more than a little ironic to have New, one of the first women pediatric endocrinologists and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, constructing women who go into “men’s” fields as “abnormal.” And yet it appears that New is suggesting that the “prevention” of “behavioral masculinization” is a benefit of treatment to parents with whom she speaks about prenatal dex. In a 2001 presentation to the CARES Foundation (a videotape of which we have), New seemed to suggest to parents that one of the goals of treatment of girls with CAH is to turn them into wives and mothers.
Dan Savage:

Two things: Gay people have been stressing out about a day arriving when scientists developed treatments to prevent homosexuality. You can read about the preventing gay sheep freak out here, you can read about Twilight of the Golds here, and I recall—but can't quickly find a link for—a "fellow" at the Family Research Council or the American Family Association who backed in-utero hormone treatments to prevent homosexuality. Well, here we are—the day appears to have arrived. Now what are we going to do about it?

And will the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee invite Maria New to testify at Elana Kagan's confirmation hearings? New could argue that Kagan—childless, unmarried Kagan—is unfit to serve on our highest court because her "low maternal interest" pegs her as abnormal, well outside the "maternal mainstream." Maybe GOP senators would be mollified if Kagan knocked back a few bottles of dex during her confirmation hearings?

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