Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

IF there were any doubt that our society now works on a presumption against liberty, it has been made obvious by the reaction to the recent news that an American clinic has helped 200 couples choose the sex of their baby using a `gender-screening' technique costing 3,600 a time. The Department of Health immediately announced that it was going to think about new regulations, while Dr Richard Nicholson, who edits a learned journal on medical ethics, likened the business to something out of Nazi Germany.

But why the rush to condemn? Contrary to Dr Nicholson's cheap jibe, the concept of individuals freely choosing to use a technique to determine the sex of their child is as far from the authoritarian social engineering of Nazism as it is possible to imagine.

There may be good reasons why particular fertility treatments should be banned - if, for example, they are shown to damage sperm and so increase the risk of babies being born deformed. …

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