Engendering Harm: A Critique of Sex Selection For “Family Balancing”

AbstractThe most benign rationale for sex selection is deemed to be “family balancing.” On this view, provided the sex distribution of an existing offspring group is “unbalanced,” one may legitimately use reproductive technologies to select the sex of the next child. I present four novel concerns with granting “family balancing” as a justification for se x selection: (a) families or family subsets should not be subject to medicalization; (b) sex selection for “family balancing” entrenches heteronormativity, inflicting harm in at least three specific ways; (c) the logic of affirmative action is appropriated; (d) the moral mandate of reproductive autonomy is misused. I conclude that the harms caused by family balancing are sufficiently substantive to override any claim arising from a supposed right to sex selection as an instantiation of procreative autonomy.
Source: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry - Category: Medical Ethics Source Type: research

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