It was a few years ago, and the blood test for herpes had just come out. I was all excited. I am normally a champion sleeper, but every now and then I get anxious and find myself up and petrified at 2 a.m., stranded in an unsafe and frightening world. One thing that occupies my mind during those times is the fear that I've unwittingly passed on STDs. It seems like such a crummy thing to do.
So at my annual check-up I tell the doctor that I'd like to be tested. He talks me out of it. He says, "Look, you're in a relationship, there's nothing really to be done about it, so many people have this, better just to leave it alone."
I went along, more being a passive moron than out of any conviction by his arguments.
The title of this post is the front page headline for this Los Angeles Time story this morning.
The second paragraph in (almost) its entirety: "One-quarter of fetuses found to have Gaucher disease were aborted over an eight-year period, even though half of all children with the metabolic disorder will never experience any symptoms . . . The rest can lead normal lives with treatment."
Eugenics is, obviously, creepy, but I will note that in the twenty third paragraph we learn that four abortions out of sixteen pregnancies made up that one-quarter figure.
So one of the responses to this is that testing shouldn't happen, or, from the L.A.Times's paraphrase of one doctor's response, "given the ambiguity inherent in some genetic tests, they should not be given for diseases that are imminently [sic?] treatable."
It strikes me as such a funny message, and one that only really gets put forward in the medical and national security contexts: You can't be trusted with this information. It, in fact, says nothing good about you that you want this information. You, given this information, will go buck-wild.