Sex Selective Abortions

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Sex-Selective Abortions in China

Part A: Ethical Issue & Importance
The news article selected for the ethical analysis is based on the ‘One Child Policy of China’; many ethical issues arise from this article and topic in general. The ethical issue that has been chosen for analysis is whether or not sex-selective abortions are ethical for families to have a desired sex of a child in China. Although the ethical issues behind abortion in general is very large, this analysis will focus on the issues solely behind sex selective abortions in China. Sex selective abortion is the act of terminating a pregnancy due to an unwanted sex of the foetus, as determined by the parents [ (Goodkind, 1999) ]. The importance behind this issue is the impact it is having on the Chinese population demographics, and the discrimination between the sexes of unborn babies. In 2010 for every 100 females born, 118 males were born causing a large imbalance of the sex ratio in China [ (Ravi, 2011) ]. Part B: Relevant Facts

The most obvious fact of the issue is that preference is given to male babies, and unborn female babies are more likely to be aborted. Even though sex-selective abortions are illegal in China, there are many doctors who still risk losing their license to carry out the practise. There are multiple reasons for the preference of male babies most of which stem from family and cultural values, and the potential economic gain for the country [ (Ravi, 2011) ]. In order for a family bloodline to be passed down to another generation, families seek to have a son in order for the family name to continue on. Men were also perceived to have greater economic opportunities than women [ (Levenstein, 2011) ] thus making male babies more desired then female babies. Many demographic researchers believe that the ‘One Child Policy’ was the cause for the increase in sex-selective abortions. With this being the case in China the ‘One Child Policy’ puts pressure on families to have a son on the first try to avoid severe penalties for having more than one child [ (Goodkind, 1999) ]. As a result of sex-selective abortions since the 1970’s, in September of 2010 there were approximately 32 million more males then females under the age 20 in China [ (Hvistendahl, 2010) ]. The “missing daughters” is term that’s been used to describe the missing number of females in China due to the One Child Policy. It is estimated that sex-selective abortion accounts for 85% of the 13 million “missing daughters” in China since the start of the One-Child Policy [ (Nie, 2008) ]. One of the contributing factors to an increase in sex-selective abortions is the availability of technology to find out the sex of an unborn child. Some expecting mothers will undergo numerous ultrasounds to determine the sex of an unborn foetus. Ultrasound tests are exteremely cheap in China; at a public hostpital they will usually cost between 25-30 yaun (3-4USD), however for a more reliable test private clinics do the test for between 50-60 yaun (6-8 USD) [ (Junhong, 2011) ] Part C: Act Utilitarianism Analysis

Act utilitarianism states that one should perform the act that will bring the greatest amount of good for all concerned [ (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2009) ]. In order to do an act utilitarianism analysis both the positive and negative consequences of the act have to be taken in to account, and conclude whether net utility will rise or fall due to the act being examined. For this analysis the positive and negative consequences for sex-selective abortion in China will be analysed, and a conclusion will be drawn as to whether or not it has a greater benefit to a greater number of people in China. Positive Consequences:

The practice of sex-selective abortions generally always show a preference to male babies, while the female foetus` are more likely to aborted in China. The practice of sex-selective abortions, which started after the introduction of the One-Child Policy in...
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