Prenatal DNA Testing Story
A young married woman called yesterday, telling me she was in a terrible position, begging me for help.
She had a one night stand with a man who was not her husband 9 weeks ago, and she is now 9 weeks pregnant. It could be her husband’s baby, or it could be the other man’s. And, as happens so often in the DNA testing world, race comes barreling into the picture.
You see, her extramarital partner is of a different race than her husband, so she told me that if she waits until the birth to do the test, it will be plainly obvious to her husband if he is not the father. So, she faces a stark choice. She can break the news to him now, but she doesn’t want to do that. She mentioned to me that she could just get an abortion, but the baby might be her husband’s (in which case she would want to keep it), and of course terminating a pregnancy is not an easy decision in any case. Or, she can risk it – but the stress of it all could be very detrimental to the health of her unborn child.
Sex, race, marriage, loyalty, and the moral judgements of society and family. It all comes crashing together in this young woman’s life right now. Because of one night of sex – which she presumably enjoyed physically.
So she decided she will get a prenatal DNA test to find out if the other guy is the father, and if he is, she will terminate the pregnancy.
And I find myself wondering, if race wasn’t in play, would she make that choice? Would this fetus’s future life be at risk if we didn’t live in a society where race still weighs so heavily on everyone’s minds? And what about extramarital sex – would she be facing the same quandary if she lived in a more openly accepting society like those of Western Europe, say, France?
It’s 2013. We had the sexual revolution a long time ago. We are supposed to be more colorblind than at any time in our history. We accept kids openly, from all kinds of parental situations. Yet a biracial child from an extramarital affair is still so incredibly taboo that a young, professional, educated woman will abort it. For the child’s sake, I am crossing my fingers that it is the husband’s baby. But seriously, isn’t it time that we realize as a society that the gossiping and moralizing that we all engage in, which is fueled by the media, has an impact that goes way beyond whoever is currently being ostracized in the press. It impacts people like the Health Street client I just described, and her innocent child – long before he or she is ever born.