Would you have your fetus genetically tested?

By Razib Khan | December 27, 2011 12:22 pm

There’s a variable in the GSS, GENESELF, which asks:

Today, tests are being developed that make it possible to detect serious genetic defects before a baby is born. But so far, it is impossible either to treat or to correct most of them. If (you/your partner) were pregnant, would you want (her) to have a test to find out if the baby has any serious genetic defects?

This is relevant today especially. First, the technology is getting better and better. Second, couples are waiting longer to start families. Unfortunately this question was only asked in 1990, 1996, and 2004. But on the positive side the sample sizes were large.

I decided to combine 1990 and 1996 into one class. Also, I combined those who were very liberal with liberals, and did the same for conservatives. For political party ideology I lumped strong to weak identifiers. For intelligence I used WORDSUM. 0-4 were “dull,” 5-7 “average,” and 8-10 “smart.” For some variables there weren’t results for the 1990s.

The biggest surprise for me is that there wasn’t much difference between the 1990s and 2004. The second biggest surprise was that the differences between demographics were somewhat smaller than I’d expected, and often nonexistent. Below is a barplot and table with the results.

 

Yes to fetal genetic tests by demographic
Demographic1990s2004
Male6967
Female6865
White6765
Black7972
Hispanic*71
Less than HS7267
High School6865
Junior College6469
Bachelor7165
Graduate6971
Protestant6965
Catholic6263
Jewish9578
No Religion7869
Dull7471
Average6565
Smart7166
Liberal8077
Slight Liberal7064
Moderate7069
Slight Conservative6866
Conservative5952
Democrat7374
Independent6967
Republican6558
Yes to abortion on demand8075
No to abortion on demand6156
Bible Word of God6361
Bible Inspired Word6865
Bible Book of Fables8275
Evolution definitely true*81
Evolution probably true*70
Evolution probably not true*67
Evolution definitely not true*58

 

 

 

 

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Comments (7)

  1. Wow, what changed among the Jews in that time?! Maybe the issue was more on their minds when children were born regularly among them with Tay-Sachs.

  2. Was geschah mit den Juden?

  3. #1, small sample size. but i reported it because jews tend to be very positive on all “pro-family planning” questions.

  4. Nise to see peeple suport eugeniks, eeven tho it is kalled somthing els today. I wud hav expekted lower valus and larjer diferenses between groups.

  5. ackbark

    I think it’s that more people are realizing that if they have their fetus tested and it has something not right about it they’d have to make a decision about aborting it.

    And testing it like that on your own volition sort of brings it into the family, more so than if a doctor were to just give you the bad news.

  6. Marleen Susman

    I’m not familiar with this database. Can you explain why N=55,000 but only 4,466 people responded to this question?

  7. #6, some questions are asked only to a subset.

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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