Thursday, 6 February 2014
I think one of the strengths of using a bodily rights argument in defense of abortion is that it still leaves room for the pro-choice advocate to be against sex-selective abortion. From my limited experience I've found that I am not the only pro-choicer who believes sex-selective abortion is immoral and should be illegal, but if the fetus is not a person with a right to life I think it is difficult to defend that view while being consistent. For those PC people who agree that sex-selective abortions should be illegal, here is an argument I've found helpful for defending this position.
P1: It should always be illegal to discriminate against persons on the basis of sex.
P2: Sex-selective abortion is discrimination against a person on the basis of sex.
P3: Making sex-selective abortion illegal would not violate the mothers bodily autonomy.
C: Therefore, sex-selective abortion should be illegal.
I think most people can agree with the first two premises (P1 and P2), so I'm not going to defend them in this article. That being said if you disagree with one of those premises let me know and I'll try and make a new post addressing your concerns. What I am going to focus on is the third premise, "making sex-selective abortion illegal would not violate the mothers bodily autonomy".
It seems to me that although persons should have the right to deny others the use of their body to survive they do not have the right to know the sex of the people they have the option of helping. Take the following example: people are not forced to donate blood however, if someone decides to donate blood they are not able to chose the sex of the person they donate to. I don't believe this is an injustice. This shows that although all persons have the right to decide not to donate the use of their body they do not have the right to know the sex of the person they are donating to. I think it follows from this that although women have the right to decide whether or not they will allow a fetus to use their body to survive, they do not have the right to know whether the fetus is a male or female. So, I think the state could make it illegal for women to know the sex of their fetus before an abortion while still preserving the bodily rights of women. And if I am right in thinking that sex-selective abortion is discrimination and discrimination should be illegal I think it follows that the state should make it illegal for women to know the sex of their fetus before an abortion (therefore making sex-selective abortion illegal).