A Florida doctor is dosing pregnant women with an experimental hormone to prevent their daughters from becoming lesbians — and make sure they grow up into wives and mothers.
Some scientists think the hormone dexamethasone, if administered prenatally, might prevent ambiguous genitalia in babies. But according to a report by Alice Dreger and colleagues at Bioethics Forum (via Strollerderby and Slog), says pediatric endocrinologist Maria New is "suggesting that prenatal dex also might prevent affected girls from turning out to be homosexual or bisexual." New apparently thinks certain prenatal hormone combinations (specifically those associated with the condition congenital adrenal hyperplasia) cause baby girls to come out liking dude things — she writes, "gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized." And she wants to put a stop to that. In a presentation quoted by Dreger et al, New said of a girl with ambiguous genitals,
The challenge here is . . . to see what could be done to restore this baby to the normal female appearance which would be compatible with her parents presenting her as a girl, with her eventually becoming somebody's wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother. And she has all the machinery for motherhood, and therefore nothing should stop that, if we can repair her surgically and help her psychologically to continue to grow and develop as a girl.
The question of whether ambiguous genitalia should be prevented with prenatal drugs is vexed enough (for one thing, dex may not be completely safe), but New isn't just talking about babies' genitals here. She's talking about keeping girls from hanging out with boys, choosing dude careers (like, ask Dreger et al, the male-dominated field of pediatric endocrinology?), and being gay. Because as long as they're properly programmed in the womb, they'll totally grow up to marry and get pregnant like good girls should. And then we can continue the cycle by drugging them!
Image via Julia_Petukhova/Shutterstock.com.
Preventing Homosexuality (And Uppity Women) In The Womb? [Bioethics Forum]
Doctor Treating Pregnant Women With Experimental Drug To Prevent Lesbianism [Slog]
Pregnant Women Being Given Experimental Drug To Breed Girly Girls [Strollerderby]