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Would You Have Your Fetus Genetically Tested?
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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
Demographic 1990s 2004
Male 69 67
Female 68 65
White 67 65
Black 79 72
Hispanic * 71
Less than HS 72 67
High School 68 65
Junior College 64 69
Bachelor 71 65
Graduate 69 71
Protestant 69 65
Catholic 62 63
Jewish 95 78
No Religion 78 69
Dull 74 71
Average 65 65
Smart 71 66
Liberal 80 77
Slight Liberal 70 64
Moderate 70 69
Slight Conservative 68 66
Conservative 59 52
Democrat 73 74
Independent 69 67
Republican 65 58
Yes to abortion on demand 80 75
No to abortion on demand 61 56
Bible Word of God 63 61
Bible Inspired Word 68 65
Bible Book of Fables 82 75
Evolution definitely true * 81
Evolution probably true * 70
Evolution probably not true * 67
Evolution definitely not true * 58

 

 

 

 

(Republished from Discover/GNXP by permission of author or representative)
 
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  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. 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. 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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