Opinion Brief

Aborting boys: Is it wrong to hold out for a girl?

An Australian couple, desperate for a baby girl, aborted twin boys. Now they want special permission to use IVF to engineer a girl. Should that be allowed?

The story of an unnamed Australian couple desperate for a baby girl is raising thorny questions about how far parents should be allowed to go to "design" their future children. The couple, with three sons already, recently lost a baby girl shortly after birth. The mother got pregnant again using in vitro fertilization (IVF), but had an abortion after learning she was carrying twin boys. Now the couple is appealing to a state tribunal for special permission to use IVF to pick their baby's gender, a practice that is banned in their state, Victoria, unless needed to prevent genetic disease. "We want to be given the opportunity to have a girl," says the man. Should they be allowed to use IVF in this way?

No, this is disturbing and should not be permitted: While "I'll stand behind a woman's right to have an abortion for any reason," says Sierra Black at Strollerderby, I find "this couple's actions... appalling." They're clearly "flailing in grief" and "probably shouldn't be adding any children to their family right now, regardless of gender." I'm glad that Australia doesn't allow gender selection, and "I hope that doesn't change.""Couple aborts twin boys in quest for girl"

It is disturbing, but necessary in this case: While "I'm not against abortion," says Sasha Brown-Worsham at The Stir, I think this couple only compounded the tragedy of their daughter's death by aborting their twin boys. I don't like the idea, but I hope the courts decide to allow gender selection in their case. "Otherwise I fear they will just keep getting pregnant and aborting until they see female parts.""Couple aborts sons, waiting for daughter"

Yes, it doesn't hurt anyone: "Why should we make this illegal? Who is this going to harm if this couple have their desire fulfilled?" asks IVF pioneer Gab Kovacs, as quoted in Politics Daily. "I can't see how this harms anyone, and "laws should be made to protect people from things that are going to damage them.""Couple aborts twin boys because they want a girl using IVF"

Parents should cherish new lives, not destroy them: "Obviously, as pro-lifers, we see no conundrum," says Amelia Linne at SecularProLife.org. It is just plain wrong to discard embryos or "terminate" fetuses ("gotta love technical talk for 'killing'"). These parents should "spend some time appreciating the sons they have"—no matter what they do, they'll never truly "replace" the daughter they lost."Gender selection in Australia"

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