Bonnie J. Rough’s “Carrier” is a haunting book about the choice of using abortions as a means to end a genetically unsound pregnancy. Rough is a carrier of hypohidrotic ectodermal dyplasia (HED). HED can create the inability to sweat, cause repetitive infections, and breathing problems. In the book, Rough follows her line of feelings and thoughts based on her family history of HED to make the decision of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy of her unborn son who has HED according to genetic testing.
Rough does eventually decide to have an abortion. Although I followed her reasoning for the abortion on a intellectual level and was satisfied at the end of the book, days later I still feel in my heart and gut that the choice she made to end the pregnancy was wrong. Throughout the book she does not try to be argumentative in that this is the best choice for everyone, just the best choice for herself and her family. Rough writes, “Maybe, I thought, I should want a healthy baby for myself, and for Dan, and for our marriage and future. It might be noble to shoulder a burden, but it is also good to forestall harm and strive for plenty (225).”
Although I understand her argument, I think about DNA and genes themselves and wonder who are we to decide what genes we pass down from generation to generation. Isn’t genetic variation positive despite the trials some of them create? For example, I think about bipolar disorder and that scientists have found that families with the bipolar gene tend to create very intelligent and creative individuals. Who am I to choose to dump the creativity and intelligence linked to the gene of bipolar families to prevent the suffering the bipolar gene creates.
Abortion of children due to genetic reasons is both an intellectual and moral dilemma. Bonnie J. Rough’s book “Carrier” is an interesting example about one person’s decision based on this dilemma.
Rough, Bonnie J. Carrier. Centerpoint: Berkley, CA, 2010.