Friend or Foe?

Recent technological advances may hurt the pro-life movement.
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Ultrasounds changed the face of the pro-life movement. Now, supporters are concerned that new sex-prediction technology might encourage more abortions.

Drugstores recently began selling a new prediction test that tells pregnant women whether they are carrying a boy or a girl only 10 weeks after conception. IntelliGender, which created the Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test, boasts of an 82 percent accuracy rate.

"These tests can serve to reinforce someone's ability to say that girls are less valuable," said Joe Young, vice president of Heartbeat International. "When they have a sense that males are more valuable than females, it hurts a culture of life."

Recently released census data suggest that sex prediction is already having an impact. The ratio of boys to girls born in the U.S. is 1.05 to 1, but slightly higher (1.17) among Asian Americans. In cases where the first two children in an Asian American family were girls, among third children boys outnumbered girls by 50 percent.

Technological advances also mean prenatal tests can identify health conditions, in some cases prompting families to have an abortion. An Oregon couple recently sued a hospital for $14 million because they say their doctor had said their child would not have a developmental disability. Their daughter was born with Down syndrome, and the couple is seeking damages to cover the cost of raising her because they would have terminated the pregnancy.

"Technology can be helpful to know how to prepare ahead, but I think it's harmful if we try to use it as a basis for whether or not the life is valuable," Young said.

Earlier this year, President Obama issued an executive order allowing federal funds to be used for embryonic stem-cell research. While ultrasound ...

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