This week? Experimental, off-label use of a drug contraindicated for pregnant women, given to women pregnant with fetuses suspected of having congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) - an intersex condition whereby a female (XX chromosomes) fetus develops "masculinized" genitalia - *without* the oversight or approval of an IRB. They allege that this off-label usage will "...restore this baby to the normal female appearance...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."
So these doctors, and these parents-to-be, are willing to give/take potentially dangerous drugs that have *not* been approved for this activity, purely so that their daughters' bits will "look right" according to their definition of what women's bits should look like. As if a child born with "ambiguous genitals" is incapable of growing up, having "normal sexual development" - and who defines "normal" for this, anyway? - and, if she chooses, getting married and having children, unless the doctors "fix" her with potentially dangerous medication before she's even fucking born. Intersex people are not "broken", they do not need to be "fixed", and that's the assumption this non-clinical trial is working off of. Truly worthy of a Wednesday WTF.
But wait! It gets worse!
A few researchers in particular believe that this drug could not only prevent "ambiguous" genitalia...it could prevent lesbians and tomboys. It seems that higher prenatal exposure to the androgens this drug suppresses correlates moderately with homo- or bi-sexuality in women - and also with insufficiently-womanly behavior, such as "...lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role. As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.” Oh noes! How terrible! Women who don't want to be housewives and girls who don't spend their childhoods fantasizing about having babies! Get me to a fainting couch so I may clutch my pearls in safety!
But I think this is my favorite quote from this metric fuckton of FAIL:
“Gender-related behaviors, namely childhood play, peer association, career and leisure time preferences in adolescence and adulthood, maternalism, aggression, and sexual orientation become masculinized in 46,XX girls and women with 21OHD deficiency [CAH]. These abnormalities have been attributed to the effects of excessive prenatal androgen levels on the sexual differentiation of the brain and later on behavior...We anticipate that prenatal dexamethasone therapy will reduce the well-documented behavioral masculinization . . .”You've got to be fucking kidding me. So low maternalism and "career and leisure time preferences" that have "become masculinized" are abnormalities to be cured? This is, quite literally, doctors saying that they want to *medically treat* female fetuses in utero to be "more appropriately feminine". And where is the line drawn? How do we define "low maternalism" here? I'm sure a woman like me, who doesn't even like children and is vehemently opposed to ever having any, would be considered insufficiently maternal. But what about a woman who hasn't thought much about it beyond the "Eh, maybe someday" point? Is that maternal enough? What about a woman who knows she wants kids, but not until she's 30? What about a woman who assumes she'll have kids someday, but who never thought about it as a child? Remember, they were worried about childhood fantasies of pregnancy and babies as a marker of appropriate gender behavior.
Talk about playing God. These fuckers are literally trying to change future women's personalities, desires, and bodies before they are even born, in order to better enforce our society's vision of "appropriate" gendered behavior. This is absolutely sickening. I desperately hope our sense of ethics catches up to our sense of technology SOON, for all our sakes.