The constantly growing field of medical technology has raised many questions especially pertaining to ethics. The mapping of the human genome, cloning technologies, stem cell research, and of course reproductive technology has caused some very real dilemmas over the role of the human decision in the creation and orientation of new life. Humans are able to accomplish amazing things in science, but at what cost? The ubiquitous nature of reproductive technology has caused a new discipline of reproductive ethics. One such dilemma is that of selective abortion due to sex preference. In this paper I will discuss the ethics of gendercide and sonography’s affect on this practice
Sex-selective abortion is the practice of terminating a pregnancy based on the predicted sex of the fetus. The selective abortion of female fetuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of Taiwan, Korea, China, and India. A 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were "missing" from the expected population in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit. India eliminates over half a million healthy girl fetuses annually, simply because of their gender.
Amniocentesis and ultrasound techniques are the most common ways for couples to determine the sex of the child before it is born. In the US, such tests are routine and not usually alarming, but in nations such as India and China those tests, and others, have become an issue of debate since the results could mean life or death. Until the 1980’s, people in poor countries could do little about their preference for sons before birth, but in the 20th century ultrasound scanning and other methods of detecting the sex of a child before birth began to make their appearance. These technologies changed everything. Previously, parents would resort to infanticide to be sure they could have a boy. Now parents who wanted a son, but balked at killing baby daughters were able to choose abortion instead. Even today, there are no proven practices that allow gender detection during the first trimester, and ultrasound is fairly unreliable until approximately the 20th week of pregnancy. Consequently, sex selection often requires late term abortion of a fetus.
This practice not only affects the family but the society as a whole. It has caused an increase in the imbalances between sex ratios. Boys are slightly more likely to die in infancy than girls. To compensate, more boys are born than girls so there will be equal numbers of young men and women at puberty. In all societies that record births, between 103 and 106 boys are normally born for every 100 girls. The ratio has been so stable over generations that it appears to be the usual order of things. That order has changed drastically in the last 25 years. According to research the ratio today is 123 boys per 100...