Last night I watched Law and Order, which reminded me why I rarely watch TV these days. The episode opened with a bombing at a medical clinic that did genetic testing of fetuses. An early suspect was a couple whose pregnancy was terminated after mistakenly being diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. Implicit in the show was that the only problem here was the mistaken diagnosis; of course the abortion was appropriate if the baby had actually had a chromosomal disorder.
Then, in the second act, the plot twists: the lab that was bombed was linked to a scientist trying to find a “gay gene.” (The usual gratuitous swipe at religious Christians was then inserted.) A few convolutions later, and we learn that the pregnant woman in a coma, after being injured by the bomb, is carrying a boy with, yes, the “gay gene.” The father chooses to abort the baby, arguing that being gay is like a disease. The repugnance of all the other characters is loud and clear – suddenly, an abortion would be part of a “gay holocaust.” (Yes, they actually used that phrase.)
Now, straw men and implausible plotting aside, how can any sensible person reconcile this logic? The argument that abortion must be an option all the time, to anyone, for any reason, is at least internally consistent. The argument that an unborn child is a person regardless of what his genes may contain is also pretty straightforward. But to maintain that a fetus is a lump of cells with no intrinsic value or rights, unless it carries a gene for homosexuality, in which case aborting it is a grave sin, is morally and logically incoherent.