EVANSTSON, Ill., July 1 (UPI) — A U.S. bioethics professor is protesting the use of an unapproved drug by New York researchers who she says are trying to prevent homosexuality in the womb.
Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University, says the condition being “treated” is congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a serious endocrine disruption that sometimes results in ambiguous genitalia, a university release said Wednesday.
Research has shown that females born with CAH have increased rates of tomboyism and lesbianism.
Prenatal treatment with a drug called dexamethasone is used by some clinicians to prevent the development of abnormal genitalia.
But the New York-based group of clinical researchers whose work is traced by Dreger suggests that prenatal dexamethasone can also be used in this population to prevent the “abnormality” of homosexuality.
“This is the first we know in the history of medicine that clinicians are actively trying to prevent homosexuality,” Dreger says.
Major medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics say this use of prenatal dexamethasone is experimental and not to be treated as standard of care.
An investigation led by Dreger showed the chief proponent of this “off-label” use, pediatric endocrinologist Maria New, treated hundreds of women with this experimental drug without proper research ethics oversight, Northwestern University said.
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