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The Value Of Reproductive Liberty: Ethically Defending The Right To Allow Non Medical Gender Selection

1017 words - 5 pages

An expectant couple can go to a gynaecologist and have an ultrasound in order to relatively easily find out the gender of their child. On the one hand, the couple might want to know the gender so that they can purchase clothes, paint the nursery, and think about names. On the other hand, the couple could want a child of a specific gender and may plan to abort the other gender.

In this paper, I will be discussing the contentious issue of whether gender selection for non-medical reasons is ethically defensible. There are three different positions that one could take: gender selection for non-medical reasons can never, sometimes, or always be ethically defensible. I intend to argue that gender selection is always ethically defensible. Note, in this paper the term gender selection refers to pre-conception, pre-implantation, and prenatal gender selection performed for non-medical reasons.

I will now discuss why gender selection is always ethically defensible. The first point I will discuss is that reproductive liberty is a basic right and to limit it in any way is an infringement upon that liberty (Harris 291). I will then discuss why claiming that gender selection is sexist is not a valid reason for which to prohibit gender selection.

Fundamental rights cannot be restricted except for cogent reasons. Reproductive choice is a fundamental right (Harris 293). I argue that there are no justifiable reasons for which this right can be restricted. Therefore, reproductive choice cannot be restricted for any reason.

There are means to select the gender of one’s child and everyone should be allowed the option to select the gender of their child. Not having the choice to select or not select is restrictive and limits reproductive freedom.

I am sympathetic to people who opt not to select the gender of their children. Personally, I have the intuition that it would be selfish for me to choose the gender of my child. It is my choice to not select the gender of my child. It would disrespect my reproductive freedom if I could not make the choice to not select the gender of my child.

Imagine a world in which people are required to decide the gender of their child. A world where one had to decide whether they wanted a son or a daughter. This would be restrictive of reproductive liberty because of the limitation of choice—the choice between selecting gender or not.

I will now discuss some examples of people who are or would be affected by this type of limitation of reproductive choice.

There are parents who want to have both a son and a daughter; having a “balanced” family is important to them (Dickens 336). There are no valid reasons to restrict their reproductive freedom. People are free to want a balanced family and they should then also be free to select the genders of their children.

The most significant argument against gender selection for non-medical reasons is that gender selection is sexist. Society appears to hold the view that gender...

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