As readers of Inside Higher Ed and the Leiter Reports know, Hilde Lindemann has resigned from the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics, citing a number of concerns. Chief among them is the editors’ decision to accept and run a “Target Article” describing a Letter of Concern (both at the hotlink), signed by 32 scholars including Hilde Lindemann, as a case study in unethical bioethics. The ensuing coverage has considered many interesting questions, including the accuracy of Lindemann’s comments in her resignation letter, the accuracy of the editors and authors of the Target Article who have defended their choices and their various online posts since, the standards of evidence in bioethics and so on. Potentially lost in this otherwise quite gripping discussion is the actual subject of the initial Letter of Concern, which is of interest to so many feminist philosophers: fetaldex.org:
Purpose: This website seeks to raise ethical concerns about the prenatal use of dexamethasone (a Class C steroid) when it is given to pregnant women to attempt to prevent female fetuses from developing genitals that are atypical, and when it is given by clinicians to also prevent females from being psychologically “masculnized,” i.e., tomboyish, more aggressive than average girls, and ultimately lesbian of bisexual in sexual orientation.
An excellent plain-language introduction to this topic is provided via this article at Time magazine.
So if you’re wondering why so many of your friendly neighbourhood feminist philosophers are signatories on the LOC taking so much criticism, that’s why!