Sex selection in India: Why a ban is not justified

Aksel Sterri
University of Oslo
When widespread use of sex‐selective abortion and sex selection through assisted reproduction lead to severe harms to third parties and perpetuate discrimination, should these practices be banned? In this paper I focus on India and show why a common argument for a ban on sex selection fails even in these circumstances. I set aside a common objection to the argument, namely that women have a right to procreative autonomy that trumps the state's interest in protecting other parties from harm, and argue against the ban on consequentialist grounds. I perform a pairwise comparative analysis of sex selection and its plausible alternatives and argue that that the ban fails to improve the state of affairs relative to a scenario without a ban. The ban makes the situation worse, especially for mothers and their daughters. India should therefore repeal its ban on sex selection.
Keywords India  consequentialism  discrimination  procreative autonomy  sex selection
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DOI 10.1111/dewb.12250
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