Mark Your Calendars for Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 7 PM, for our annual Rabinowitz event! This year Professor Inmaculada de Melo-Martin, Ph.D., M.S., Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University will give lecture titled:
"It's a Boy! The Ethics of Sex Selection."
This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Program on Values in Society with generous assistance form the Rabinowitz Endowment for medical ethics.
Abstract: The use of new reproductive and genetic technologies is presenting us with difficult ethical choices. One is that of the ethical permissibility of selecting embryos of a particular sex for social reasons. Often proponents of this practice use the procreative liberty framework to defend their position. The framework clearly has some appealing features. It is consistent with many people's intuitions about the importance of reproduction and the protections that should be granted to procreative activities. Moreover, because this framework is presented as neutral with respect to different conceptions of the good, it is particularly appealing in pluralistic democracies. As persuasive as this right-based framework might be in relation to many aspects of reproduction, I argue here that in the context of sex selection for social reasons its use is problematic. This is so for at least two reasons. First, there are no compelling justifications to believe that sex selection falls under the scope of procreative liberty. Second, the use of this framework precludes an evaluation of the normative assumptions that underlie the defense of sex selection.