2008 The Curse
posted by September 15 at 15:17 PMon
In this week’s Dear Science, Golob writes:
If you’re over 35—more or less the point at which the risk of having a child with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), or another chromosomal abnormality, dramatically increases—prenatal genetic tests are remarkably accurate at detecting such abnormalities. They can be done in the first trimester of pregnancy and pose virtually no risk to the fetus. If the screen comes up positive, you can elect to terminate the pregnancy while still in the first trimester. That’s great! Combining such a screen with the choice of termination, even a woman well into her 40s can make her risk of having a child with trisomy 21 lower than a young woman.
The risk, however, only goes down if the woman has an abortion. If she is like Palin (who was informed of the serious irregularities in her pregnancy but decided not terminate it) then the risk remains high.
Palin had her reason for not aborting, and this reasoning needs to be examined.
When tests made it clear that Palin’s pregnancy, which happened around the age of 43, had chromosomal abnormalities, she did not do the rational and even humane thing: return to nothing that which was still a no-thing. Why? Because of a religious belief. She holds the unverifiable belief that God is against abortions. How she came to this conclusion is for now not worth considering. Let’s instead consider this: The life expectancy of women only increased (and surpassed that of men) when science (not God) significantly reduced the dangers of pregnancy. Without science, women were lucky to see life beyond their mid 30s; with science, they can reasonably bank on seeing life in their 80s. Women (and this is women in developed countries) can also have children at a relatively late age. For example, the women in the above image, Salma Hayek, had a healthy baby in her early 40s. It’s now normal for this sort of thing to happen. But it’s only normal because of science.
In short, the only reason Palin could have a baby in her 40s is because of the achievements in science. There is no other reason. If it was left to God, she would be lucky to reach the age she is in now, the age she gave birth to a mentally deficient baby. But her decision not to abort (an unscientific decision) is based on the belief that pregnancy is entirely God’s business. She leaves this one thing, the pregnancy, to God, and the rest of her life—her health, he long life, her sparkling teeth—to science.
This makes no sense. Even if He exists, God has nothing to do with why Palin is having a baby at 43.
To conclude, let’s turn to history. Let’s go back to the wonderful 19th century (the cradle of our productive world) and examine the moment (1853) when Queen Victoria first decided to use chloroform during labor (she would do it again for her next and last, her 9th, delivery). The drug made the hard experience far less painful, and she made it known to the public (or at least the social elite) that anesthetized labor was a wonderful discovery, a great achievement, a sign of progress. But guess who was upset about the success of Queen Victoria’s experiment? The Church. Why? Because painless pregnancy was not a part of God’s plan. Indeed, it negated Eve’s curse. God cursed women, and that curse must, for God’s sake, remain undone.