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LIFE DIGEST: New 6-week pregnancy test may mean more sex-selection abortions; …

WASHINGTON (BP)–A new home test reportedly can determine an unborn child’s sex only six weeks into pregnancy, and a bioethics specialist has warned its primary purpose would appear to be enabling women to receive early sex-selection abortions.

The test, which is available on the Internet, moves up the time for detecting an unborn child’s sex by more than three months. Ultrasound tests to determine the gender of babies normally are performed at about 20 weeks.

Bioethics commentator Wesley Smith said he could think of “only one main reason” for a test as early as six weeks.

“If you want a boy, and it’s a girl –- or probably less frequently, the other way around –- then there is plenty of time to have a eugenic abortion and start again,” Smith wrote on the weblog at bioethics.com.

“[P]eople who don’t want a little girl or boy can find out early enough to destroy their daughter or son –- with no one the wiser,” he wrote. “So much for loving the child we conceive unconditionally. We apparently are moving into an era in which we not only have a right to have a child but to have the child we want. All that seems to matter any more is, ‘I want.'”

The kit, which is manufactured by DNA Worldwide, can be purchased for less than $380, according to The Mail, a British newspaper.

With the kit, a pregnant woman takes a small blood sample from a finger prick, places it on filter paper and sends it to a lab to be tested, The Mail reported May 4. If the lab test detects the Y chromosome in the blood sample, the baby is determined to be a male. If not, the child is deemed a female. The test results are sent back to the mother in about six days, according to the newspaper.

The new test may prove to be another weapon in what one scholar has labeled as a “global war against baby girls.”

In December, Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, told United Nations delegates there is an increasing birth imbalance that favors males because of sex-selection abortions and prenatal technologies, such as screening for gender.

Sex-selection abortions have permanently altered the demographic balance of China and are in the process of doing the same in India, he said. This trend has reached Eastern Europe and Latin America, and it also is beginning to be observed in Africa, Eberstadt said.

The Sept. 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported China and India are missing an estimated 80 million females largely because of sex-selection abortions.

Natural birth rates are about 105 male births to every 100 female births, but some of the world’s regions have reached ratios from 115 to 100 up to 150 to 100.

SCHOOL DISINVITES MCCASKILL -– A Roman Catholic high school outside St. Louis, Mo., rescinded an invitation for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D.-Mo., to speak at her daughter’s graduation.

St. Joseph’s Academy in Frontenac disinvited McCaskill because her support for abortion rights and federal funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research conflicts with Roman Catholic teaching, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

McCaskill, who was elected to the Senate in November, blamed St. Louis archbishop Raymond Burke for the decision, but the archdiocese’s education office made the recommendation to the school that it withdraw the invitation, a spokeswoman in that office said, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Burke, however, has not been afraid to stand publicly for the sanctity of human life.

In late April, he resigned from the board of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center Foundation because popular musician Sheryl Crow was to perform at its yearly fundraising event and concert, according to the newspaper. Burke took the action because Crow is an advocate for stem cell research that destroys embryos.

In 2004, Burke gained national attention when he said he would urge Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who was running for president, not to seek to take communion if he attended Basilica Cathedral in St. Louis, the newspaper reported.

It is not the first time McCaskill has had a speaking invitation for a Catholic commencement exercise in the St. Louis area rescinded. Her invitation to deliver the 1999 graduation speech at Chaminade College Preparatory School was pulled because of her position on abortion, the Post-Dispatch reported.

MO. PARENTS MAY SUE –- The Missouri Supreme Court ruled May 1 in favor of a law enabling parents to sue people who help their minor daughters obtain abortions.

The justices unanimously upheld the 2005 law, which says a person may not “intentionally cause, aid, or assist” a girl under 18 years of age to get an abortion without the permission of her parent or a judge, according to the Associated Press. The law was designed to prevent such situations as a friend, boyfriend or parent of a boyfriend from paying for a girl’s abortion or transporting her to another state for an abortion.

“This law was written to really protect the rights of parents…. [Otherwise,] minors will go out of state –- and, in a way, almost be lured out of state –- and not have the benefits of having their parents there to help them in that decision,” said Patty Skain, executive director of Missouri Right to Life, AP reported.