Khaya Dlanga

When abortion becomes frivolous

2011-01-18 08:25

An unnamed couple in Australia aborted their twin sons because they wanted a girl. The reason the couple wants to do this is because they wanted to replace a baby girl that they had lost soon after birth.

The mother got pregnant again using in vitro fertilisation (IVF), but had an abortion after learning she was carrying twin boys. It would also be fair to mention that couple also has three boys at the moment.

They are busy appealing to the state of Victoria for special permission to use IVF to pick their baby's gender. The practice is banned in Victoria, unless needed to prevent genetic disease.

Some people understand the couple’s plight, some don’t. I understand the couple’s plight but I find it unacceptable that they would do such a thing. One cannot replace a lost child in the first place.

Beyond frivolous

I don’t have children but I don’t need to have had children or have lost a child to understand the reasons they are doing it. To think that one can replace a child that passed away with another is incomprehensible. As someone said to me, you can’t replace a child like you’re replacing a couch.

To abort a child simply because they happened to be a wrong gender is beyond frivolous. If this is permitted, then where do we draw the line? If it were found, for example, that the baby would have green eyes as opposed to the blue that the parents wanted it to have, does that also mean this would be permitted?

Where do we draw the line? Will people start aborting because the baby is too short, too tall or too dark? This cannot be allowed to happen. It is not as simple as changing hair colour. Once these kinds of laws are passed, no one knows how far they can go as clever lawyers would exploit loop holes in them.

What the parents have done raises a moral question; even amongst people who support abortion (even though I don't think anyone truly supports abortion because no one goes around bragging about their abortions). People often understand the circumstances that may lead one to make such decisions - whether they support abortion or not.

Some say that it is about choice. This goes beyond choice. It crosses the lines of the ridiculous. This couple do not lack in children. They have three. They would have had five with the twins.

Some say that it is okay for the family to design the kind of family they want. This is the very reason I believe that States have the right to intervene. We cannot allow families to suddenly start designing the kinds of families they want as this may affect the gender ratio balance of generations to come.

Going too far

Touching on the morality of abortion leads nowhere because it will lead us to a religious debate which often leads to nowhere but insults.

I think to say its choice is a beyond extreme, to abort simply because you want a daughter is a frivolous reason. This is a slap in the face to thousands of women worldwide who are unable to conceive, who undergo an often painful IVF procedure and never manage to conceive anyway. Yet this couple went through the procedure and managed to fall pregnant but decided, nah, we don’t like this one.

As much as I am of a liberal predisposition, this goes way too far. Some things should be kept old school even if we have the technology to make them new school. Gender selection should be natural; it should not be something we play a hand in.

- Follow Khaya on Twitter.

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