I recently read an article about the online abuse Danielle Lloyd faced when people found out about her decision to undergo gender selection treatment. I didn’t really understand why she faced so much abuse for the decision, and I didn’t even realise that the treatment was illegal in the UK. So I thought I’d delve into the issue and give you five reasons gender selection treatment should be LEGAL in the UK.
As usual, I might be wrong in a lot of what I’m going to say. But I’m just trying to add a little bit of balance to this argument and more importantly, encourage discussion.
5 Reasons Gender Selection Treatment Should be Legal in the UK
1. Reproductive Autonomy
To me, this is the biggest argument for legalising gender selection treatment in the UK. Most of us already agree with the notion that it’s a woman’s body so it’s her choice. It’s the argument that people frequently use in favour of legal abortions. I’ll just say that I do believe abortion should be legal. I might not massively like the idea of it, I don’t think anyone actually likes what it really is, but I still think it should be legal.
If you believe in the idea that a woman should have total freedom over her own body, then surely that right has to translate over to gender selection too? If we can accept that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy, then why can’t she also have the right to select the future child’s gender?
Any impact you might have on a child’s life by selecting their gender is in no way any larger than that of termination. But maybe I’m missing something. I can’t really think of a compelling enough argument against this one, but if you can then get in touch.
2. We Already ‘Play God’ With so Many Other Areas of Life, so why not do it with this?
We play ‘God‘ all the time. One of the main purposes of science is to try and counter act the adverse affects of nature. We build climate controlled houses to be unaffected by the weather, we cure ‘God given’ diseases, and we even play God when it comes to pregnancy. Selecting the gender of a baby is just an added step in the direction we’ve already taken with IVF treatment. Some companies who provide IVF in the United States even have gender selection as part of the possible package.
Since IVF is perfectly legal in the UK, would anyone really quibble over someone selecting the child’s gender as part of the process?
3. We Can’t Say That There Would be a Gender Bias
Whilst I won’t argue that gender selection treatment wouldn’t perhaps produce a gender bias in countries like China, I would dispute it happening in the UK.
I don’t personally think we have a preferred gender here. There’s not really any benefit either way to having a girl or a boy, so we can’t say for certain that there would ever be a gender bias. Besides, gender selection is probably going to be something that costs quite a lot of money. The idea that suddenly everyone is going to rush to have either boys or girls is very unrealistic as most of the country wouldn’t even be able to afford this.
There are also a few things you could put in place to stop a bias from forming. You could easily make gender selection unavailable to those on their first child, and only have it available to those wanting to ‘family balance.‘ Of course, that would go against the reproductive autonomy I mentioned at the top, so perhaps we should just let people make their own choices.
4. You Can’t Stop the Flow of Science – Gender Selection is just an inevitability
I personally believe that in the not-so-distant future pregnancy will be a whole lot different to how it is now. With the progress of things such as CRISPR and other advancement in gene technologies, it won’t be long before you’ll literally be able to select what physical attributes you want your child to have. It’s something people have called ‘designer babies’ and if I’m honest, I think it’s inevitable. Maybe it will mostly be for the very rich; but eventually technological advancements become much more affordable.
I don’t think we’ll even physically be birthing our children in the future. The idea of women going through childbirth will be something that women look back on and go “they actually used to do that!” They’ve already done it with sheep, so it only makes sense that it will happen with humans too.
Maybe we’re not quite ready to accept people choosing their child’s gender, but as science progresses and so too does our acceptance for what it can do, we’ll soon be perfectly fine with the idea of gender selection.
5. It Technically Reinforces Gender Stereotypes and is Actually a Little bit Sexist – But That Doesn’t mean it should be illegal
The whole notion of gender selection is flawed in the sense that it completely promotes our ideas of gender stereotypes. Someone who wants a girl perhaps wants someone who will play with dolls and wear pretty pink dresses. Something you can totally do with a boy if you really wanted to.
By putting an emphasis on the sex of a baby, we’re effectively playing into these gender stereotypes. It undermines gender equality as it reinforces our notion of these stereotypes. Not only that, but it goes against the whole ethos of unconditional love for our children. It shouldn’t matter what the sex is, you should love them regardless.
Even the idea of ‘family balancing’ doesn’t really make much sense when you think about it. Family balancing is based on the idea that children will fulfil preconceived binary gender roles, and therefore it technically reinforces sexism.
Yes, It’s kinda sexist, but should it be illegal?
Gender selection is an entirely sexist thing when you really think about it. But just because something promotes, and perhaps reinforces, gender stereotypes doesn’t mean it’s something that should be illegal.
We can’t impose laws on parents to ensure they don’t raise their children in a stereotypical way based on their gender. If a parent wants to dress their little girl in pink every single day then they have every right to do so. Parents should have the freedom to raise their children how they want, at least within obvious reason. We allow parents to ignore gender and raise children as “theybies.” If we can do that then surely we can let someone else just select their baby’s gender?
Well, there’s five reasons why gender selection should be legal in the UK
There you have it. There’s five reasons why I think gender selection should be legal in the UK. I know this is a slightly controversial issue, so if you have any thoughts on this then please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch. I might be wrong with some of what I’ve said, or I might have even missed something. If I have, let me know!