Imagine you’re going in to see the doctor to find out the sex of your unborn baby. You’re excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. But instead of telling you the gender, you get a blanket neutral answer that all is well and your pregnancy is progressing fine.
Right now that’s what is happening in prenatal clinics and doctor’s offices in India and if PACE (the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) has its way, this law will become standard in Europe as well.
However, in an interview with The Voice of Russia, Dr. Gillian Lockwood “believes such directives will be hardly beneficial for Britain.” Dr. Lockwood served as the vice chairperson for the ethics committee of the Royal College of Obstetricts and Gynecology.
So why the sudden urge to keep such important information from the hands of the parents to be? In a study by Swiss scientists, PACE discovered four countries in which there was a decline in the number of baby girls born to the number of baby boys (100 to 112). Could it be that fathers just preferred baby boys to baby girls? We already know that this is true in young American fathers but could that be the reason in Europe?
In other countries girls aren’t desired as much since fathers prefer men to be the heirs of the family. Additionally women aren’t valued in other cultures as much as men either. For example, the Indian doctors discovered that because of this bias against baby girls, women were aborting their unborn daughters.
One could argue that by keeping the gender from the mothers Indian doctors are saving these little girls. However, knowing that unwanted children may be more likely to be subjected to abuse or even deaths at the hands of the men in their family, are the doctors saving lives or are they subjecting the girls to a worse fate later on? Perhaps it really does just all boil down to gender preference.
Regardless of the reasons behind the push by PACE to withhold information from mothers about the gender of their baby, the idea that “big brother” has a right to keep this kind of information from private citizens is frustrating at the least. Knowing the gender of a child can help a parent prepare a room for the opposite sex of their siblings in addition to clueing parents into gender-specific diseases and testing that would be beneficial if not in fact lifesaving.
Do governments have the right to keep vital medical information from private citizens? And do parents have the right to abort a baby biased solely on gender preference?