Gender Reveal Parties and the Discernment of Amoral Issues

Gender Reveal Parties and the Discernment of Amoral Issues September 3, 2015


A reader writes:

I cannot understand why some practicing Catholics that I know do not agree that referring to a child by his/her gender and name before birth (as soon as it can be known) is MORE life-affirming than not doing so, and is clearly a moral issue because of the inherent dignity of the unborn.

Read my response at the Register.


image via Wikimedia Commons – Photographer: Nils Fretwurst

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  • Ezbs

    I once counselled a woman who had 3 children and was pregnant with her fourth. She had 2 boys and a girl. The girl had a genetic illness and therefore was special needs and required alot of care. The lady found out the sex of the unbirn child and it was going to be a girl. Being the mother of 3 girls myself, I was distraught to find out this woman wanted an abortion. Because it was a girl. She didn’t want to risk another abnormal girl (even though the illness of her daughter had nothing to do with gender, it was just an extremely rare condition). The woman had an aversion to girls because of having to raise her daughter.

    The woman was nearing the 20 week mark. Her husband pleaded with her against an abortion- the child had a face and fingers and feet. But she was adamant. I told her she may not be granted an abortion referral because she would be past the legal date. She flatly said, she would lie to the doctor and tell him that she was mentally unwell to have a child- even though she admitted to me that if the gender was a boy, she would keep it.

    I still don’t know why she rang our crisis pregnancy counselling line. Because whenever I said white, she would say black.

    This woman’s story is not unique. And happens more often than we like to think.

    This is one of the problems of finding out the sex of the unborn child. Gender selection has become very common- with couple travelling abroad to bypass laws- particular in the case of IVF. But also in natural pregnancies.

    This idea that we can know and control every aspect of a pregnancy, of our lives, is very dangerous. Because it makes society think they can choose and discard any aspect of their life that they want, including an unwanted gender.

    The issue of gender and finding out can be a dangerous one for those that don’t intend to use the information in a good way- plan ahead- but rather use it to engineer their every lives. Because we have come to believe we have the power, and the self-appointed right to do so.

  • Whitewaterlily

    I was thinking about this whole gender revealing thing for a while, now.
    Just recently, I heard of a woman who’s grandson was stillborn. He had died in the womb short before his due date. There’s no known cause. They were referring to him by name already and it was like they were talking about a person already born. And then he just died and was actually never born (alive). It seems so weird to me when people refer to their unborn children by name. I agree with Simcha here, it’s just a feeling. I don’t find it weird, because I wouldn’t regard them as human or persons or because I wouldn’t respect them, but because they are surrounded by a kind of “mystery” as long as they aren’t born, yet. I mean the ultrasound errs sometimes. I know people who painted the room pink and then got a boy… And despite I felt an intimate bond with my children during pregnancy, I think you can’t really “know” them until you see them face to face. And another thing: I know, it sounds stupid, but despite I could feel the movement quite early in pregnancy and despite ultrasound (ok, ultrasound pictures don’t really look like real photos) and despite you can really FEEL it if not during pregnancy but at least at birth – I was struck by this notion “WOW! There REALLY was a baby inside of me”! every time when I saw my children for the first time.

    I also find it very paradoxical in our society, that on the one hand unborn children are discarded as worthless blobs of tissue and on the other hand sometimes children of the same (gestational) age are referred to by name, though not yet born…