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:: Sunday, May 11, 2008 ::

Comments re: Human Development, from a discussion board at a college class I am taking:

"Pg. 64: Is there *really* any such thing as a fertilized ovum? Think about that.

Pg. 76: "Genetic testing itself involves such ethical and political issues as privacy and fair use of genetic information." And it's so not cut and dry. Genetic testing is hindered by fear. For example, I'm enrolled in a genetic study to try and find the gene for my disease. Each participant was asked to find her own control. I found several controls, and all but one were afraid to contribute a teaspoon of spit, no matter who it would help or how, because they were afraid of misuse of their genetic material.

Pg. 77: "A panel of experts has recommended against genetic testing for diseases for which there is no known cure." I strongly disagree for reasons of prevention and planning.

Pg. 77: "Particularly chilling is the prospect that genetic testing could be misused to justify...abortion of a normal fetus with the 'wrong' genetic makeup."
1) How offensive do you think that statement is to people living with functional limitations? Wonder what the folks at Disaboom.com would have to say.
2) It's called sex-selection, and it's already a reality.
3) What makes it "chilling" when a "normal" child is aborted for the 'wrong' genetic makeup and not chilling when >3,000 "normal" American children are aborted every day for reasons having nothing to do with genetic makeup? I don't understand that. It reminds me of a mom who declared her staunch support of abortion yet found it detestable when used to eliminate children affected by Down syndrome (DS). She said the practice was discrimination against DS-affected persons and should be illegal. However, if a child was "normal" and a woman was just making a personal choice then that was OK--it wasn't based on discrimination. (This mom has a child with Down syndrome of course.)
4) What is "normal?"

Pg. 93: Re: Drug Info:
I would have appreciated more discussion on the risk-benefit ratio as well as an FDA chart of categorizations for drugs for use in pregnancy. It would have been nice if the authors had included a little balance on the beneficial properties of drugs necessary in some pregnancies. I get somewhat discouraged when women who need drugs during pregnancy are terrified to take them because of misperceptions of teratogenicity.

Pg. 93 "Furthermore, more than half of women of childbearing age who do not use birth control (and therefore could become pregnant) report alcohol use."
My SIL would have a problem with this statement, as she conceived twice while using condoms. Another friend of mine got pregnant after a tubal ligation, and yet another got pregnant when, a decade later, her husband's vasectomy apparently self-healed. So, birth control does not equate certain safety from the teratogenic effects of alcohol.

pg. 99: "However, due to widespread screening for fetal defects among older expectant mothers, fewer malformed babies are born nowadays."
This is stated as though it's a real accomplishment. Look deeper. The authors say fewer "malformed" babies are BORN. Meaning more children with functional limitations are ABORTED, including children with repairable "malformations" such as cleft lip/palate. Around 80-90% of children identified as DS-affected are aborted.* Pg. 74 of our text very clearly states that DS-affected people can live in cluster homes and support themselves via successful structured job situations. DS-affected people take part in the arts, read, and even write books, which is more than some of my "23-paired" friends seem to be able to do. LOL! IMHO, the fact that we are "preventing birth defects" by eliminating the people affected by them isn't really all that triumphant.

Pg. 100: "Radiation can cause genetic mutations. Prenatal radiation exposure (for example, through X-rays of a mother's abdomen) can lead to stunted growth, birth defects, abnormal brain function, or cancer later in life. The impact depends on the dose and the timing; risks are greatest before the 15th week of gestation. Women who have routine dental X-rays during pregnancy triple their risk of having low birthweight babies"
I like this book; don't get me wrong. And I appreciate the clarification of the abdoment X-ray above. but even so, there's something a tad alarmist or intellectually dishonest about the last statement in particular. For it to be really meaningful, we would have to know what the normal risk of having a low birthweight baby is. The tripled risk could be less than 1% for all we know. Shock statistics are interesting, but they're the thing people remember. I know I'm really touchy about all these issues, but I have my reasons. For example, I know a woman who was so terrified to get an X-ray in pregnancy that she delayed, and nearly refused, a very necessary peripherally inserted central catheter. By delaying hyperalimentation she exacerbated her condition, which, by that point, could have had significant deleterious effects. Not cool. I had 6 X-rays in my last pregnancy, starting at 5 weeks pregnant. They were all chest X-rays, and my abdomen was shielded, but everyone knows the rays scatter. I'm glad I wasn't so afraid that I refused necessary treatment that saved my and my daughter's life. To learn more about X-rays in pregnancy, read ACOG, Committee on Obstetrics Practice: Guidelines for Diagnostic Imaging During Pregnancy; ACOG Committee Opinion (Sep 1995)n158p32-5."

:: ashli 4:59 AM # ::

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