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The ethics of sex selection

Ruth Macklin


The thought of women having abortions in order to choose the sex of their future children fills many with revulsion. To think clearly about this issue, it is necessary to separate arguments about the ethics of sex determination (SD) from those pertaining to abortion. People who find abortion ethically problematic will want to see its incidence reduced. We must contemplate SD carried out by preconceptional means rather than abortion following prenatal diagnosis as it is only a matter of time before techniques of sperm separation are perfected.

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