Monday, January 10, 2011

Gender Selection in Australia

I've been traveling, so my post has nothing to do with sidewalk counseling. Instead, this article from the Herald Sun is about an Australian couple who aborted their twins boys, conceived through IVF, because they wanted a daughter. They have three born sons and had one little girl who died shortly after birth. Now, if this were just a case of sex-selective abortion it wouldn’t be news worthy. Unfortunately, this happens every day, though usually fetuses are killed because they’re girls, not boys.
However, the couple now wants to select the gender of the next embryos used for IVF which is illegal for non-medical reasons in the Australian state of Victoria. A panel was convened to review their case and they were denied an exception. They are now considering coming to the U.S. for the embryo selection because we do not have the same restrictions.
What’s most interesting about this case are some quotes from Gab Kovacs, an Australian IVF pioneer:
"I can't see how it could possibly harm anyone," he said.
"Laws should be made to protect people from things that are going to damage them. Why should we make this illegal? Who is this going to harm if this couple have their desire fulfilled?"
Except for the embryos. This law protects the youngest of children from being “discarded” just because of their gender.
“"You can abort a 20-week foetus but you can't discard a three-day embryo," he said.
And that’s the conundrum. Most pro-choicers are also feminists, so presumably they have issues with sex-selective abortion (and I do mean most pro-choicers, not the radical ones). They feel that abortion should be used when a woman gets in over her head, into a situation she feels she can’t handle. However, they don’t understand why a woman would PAY to get pregnant and then abort two perfectly healthy fetuses because they weren’t the right gender. And from that point, they’re less likely to approve of it on any stage of development.
From what I’ve read of the comments, most of them feel that embryo gender selection would be almost as heinous. (and they really, really don’t want this couple to be able to do it.) Part of this is because IVF is covered by Australia’s health care system (atleast in part) and they feel it should be used for medical necessities, not frivolities like gender selection.
Obviously, as pro-lifers, we see no conundrum. We're against discarding embryos and terminating fetuses (gotta love technical talk for "killing") regardless of whether they were persecuted for age, location, or gender. I hope that this couple receives the grief counseling they obviously need and that they spend some time appreciating the sons they have. They have gone a long way to replace their daughter. I wonder when they'll realize that it's not possible.


Nulono said...

When would there ever be a medical reason for sex-selection?

AmeliaLinne said...

In cases of genetic disorders carried on the X-chromosome, boys are more likely to be affected by a disorder than girls. Some of them aren't bad, like color blindness, but others can be terminal around age ten like adrenoleukodystrophy.It's one of those "kill the child to prevent it from suffering" things.

Gail said...

This was almost as big a story in the Uk too. It's one thing aborting due to abnormalities and even using pre-implantation gender selection. However, to abort 2 healthy babies just because they are the "wrong" sex! Hmmm. The parents are going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives. I hope they come to terms with it.

Anonymous said...

This stupid, regressive ban must be lifted ASAP. I am almost 40 & very depressed about not being able to select the gender of my child when there is a genetic pattern of male autism & autism is something PGD cannot test for. I have finally met the right partner & we cannot afford to travel overseas to access a technology which was readily available here until it stupidly got implemented in the mid-2000s. The arguments against sex selection are backwards & it is heartbreaking for my partner & I to know there is a higher risk of having a child with autism if we cannot be granted the freedom of choice to have a girl. I read that Nicola Roxon will present the bill teamed up with bills on embryo testing and human cloning. This is so absurd - this woman has no specialist expertise & has her own political & personal agenda. My partner & I fear this kind of biased bill presentation will unfairly portray gender selection/the freedom of choice to use PGD, all to favour Roxon's opinionated personal preference. So sad. I don't know what we will do if the ban is not lifted. I urge the regulatory bodies involved to lift this ASAP. Not everybody has this 'pro-life' opinion which you are entitled to as much as we are entitled to be all for gender selection

Anonymous said...

And as for 'terminating fetuses', how dare you tell me what to do with my body. At age 32 I had no option but to terminate my unborn child when antenatal screening showed a neural tube defect called iniencephaly. What quality of life what my child have had? The pain and the suffering it would have experienced had my child even survived birth? We are all entitled to freedom of choice, including your views as well as mine. There are valid arguments for both the topics of PGD & abortion. Arguments against 'playing God' hold no water with my partner & I as we are atheists & are free to hold such beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I agree if a fetus is unhealthy the definatly ot should be aborted, why should a poor chord suffer. Yes sex selection needs to be granted. Definatly it's more unethicate to terminate a 20 week old feuds rather than a 3 day old embrio. I just found out that I'm having another boy which makes this my third one. His perfoavly healthy. I found it really disappointing. It always meant the world to me to have three children and to at least have one girl. Im devastated. Three boys is not what I've wished for. NOw carrying a 20 week old fetus, I can't bare to terminate a perfectly healthy life now but it's not against the law to do that, go figure. So then what really wrong with sex selection, when on comparison to aborting a 20 week old fetus which ultimatly has a heart brain and soul now

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