Saturday, November 16, 2019

Publication: Upsetting the Balance on Sex Selection

This piece has been online since July, but I'm pleased to see it made it into print in the November issue of Bioethics, as it's actually my first research publication of 2019...

It is widely assumed that the strongest case for permitting non‐medical sex selection is where parents aim at family balance. This piece criticizes one representative attempt to justify sex selection for family balance. Kluge (2007) assumes that some couples may seek sex selection because they hold discriminatory values, but this need not impugn those who merely have preferences, without evaluative commitments, for a particular sex. This is disputed by those who see any sex selection as inherently sexist because it upholds stereotypes about the sexes. This article takes an alternative approach. I argue that, even if we accept that preference‐based selection is unobjectionable, a policy permitting selection for family balancing does a poor job of distinguishing between value‐based and preference‐based selection. If we wish to permit only preference‐based sex selection we should seek to identify parents’ motives. If we wish to justify a family balancing policy, other arguments are needed.

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