A reply turned post based on this great post from Renee at Womanist Musings.
Thanks for a great post.
I am a member of Medical Students for Choice. At every meeting, there is a session called “Words of Choice” that invites new attendees to examine how they feel on challenging issues such as sex selection.
Practitioners are important tools in this. I do realize some people (like one of the commenters) think restricting abortion access in cases of sex selection can be a slippery slope of judgment that can lead to more abortion restriction. That is a valid argument. I can understand that this may be true on a legislative level.
However, practitioners make decisions all the time about what their ethical scope of practice is, and there is a similar slippery slope in the other direction of forcing practitioners to do procedures they find morally wrong. Many practitioners do limit their practice, for example, to abortions in the first trimester (up to twelve weeks) for many reasons, and that is entirely valid.
I plan on performing elective terminations as a physician. I have not decided what limits I am going to place on my own practice. I do find sex selection utterly wrong. I spoke to a peer who said “What if the couple has five boys, and just wants to have a girl?” I do not think the gender of your child is some sort of commodity, and you need to be the first person on your block to collect one of each. (It is also not a binary system, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic).
I stopped reproducing with my second boy. People ask me if I’m going to (or tell me I have to!) try for a girl. I tell them as long as I get to trade in one the ones I have, since I only want two children. Of course I would have loved to have had a baby born a girl, but in the grand scheme of things, I am not that worried about it.
I also have issues with some aspects of genetic or pathology counseling and abortion. But, the last thing a disabled child needs is parents who don’t want them. I know there are networks set up to adopt children with Down syndrome who are given up at birth, but I think large numbers of these children do end up institutionalized or in a fractured foster care system. Forcing pregnancy and forcing parenthood are not the answer.