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How sex selection undermines reproductive autonomy

journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-01, 00:00 authored by Tamara BrowneTamara Browne
Non-medical sex selection is premised on the notion that the sexes are not interchangeable. Studies of individuals who undergo sex selection for non-medical reasons, or who have a preference for a son or daughter, show that they assume their child will conform to the stereotypical roles and norms associated with their sex. However, the evidence currently available has not succeeded in showing that the gender traits and inclinations sought are caused by a "male brain" or a "female brain". Therefore, as far as we know, there is no biological reason why parents cannot have the kind of parenting experience they seek with a child of any sex. Yet gender essentialism, a set of unfounded assumptions about the sexes which pervade society and underpin sexism, prevents parents from realising this freedom. In other words, unfounded assumptions about gender constrain not only a child's autonomy, but also the parent's. To date, reproductive autonomy in relation to sex selection has predominantly been regarded merely as the freedom to choose the sex of one's child. This paper points to at least two interpretations of reproductive autonomy and argues that sex selection, by being premised on gender essentialism and/or the social pressure on parents to ensure their children conform to gender norms, undermines reproductive autonomy on both accounts.

History

Journal

Journal of bioethical inquiry

Volume

14

Issue

2

Pagination

195 - 204

Publisher

Springer

Location

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

ISSN

1176-7529

eISSN

1872-4353

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd.