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Abortion on the Basis of Gender and (Dis)Ability

The World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Center for Health Statistics describes abortion expulsion of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation or giving birth to fetus weighing less than 500 grams. Notwithstanding this, state laws vary significantly in their interpretations. Abortion approaches differ, and there is frequently controversy over what abortion implies. Abortion definition parameter variations not only scientific knowledge but also political and social perspectives. Generally, the term abortion implies “pregnancy termination,” whether by medical interventions, surgical procedures, or occurring on its own (miscarriage) (Jońska). Infanticide is the deliberate killing of a very young child either by suffocation, starvation, or dehydration. In the past, many societies had justified the practices since some cultures considered did not view children as human beings. Today, this practice is deemed to be unethical but still practiced. Abortion and infanticide are the most polarizing topics in healthcare ethics. Thus, this essay argues on the ethical basis of sex election and justification of abortion from a morally relevant point of view (Jońska).

The Scope of the Problem

Loss of pregnancy can occur spontaneously without induction. Miscarriage is another synonym for spontaneous abortion, which pertains to the termination of a pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy or the ejection of an unborn fetus weighing 500 g or less. WHO’s list of the crucial healthcare system for 2020 involves extensive abortion provisions. Abortion is a clear and modest health care procedure that is appropriately addressed by a broad continuum of health practitioners employing surgical or medication intervention. In the first trimester of gestation, a medical abortion can be effectively self-managed by the pregnant mother outside medical institution, wholly or partially part. This demands that the woman has access to correct knowledge, high-quality drugs, and the support of a skilled healthcare professional. Approximately 73 million abortions occur globally each year. The provision of post-abortion care is an essential reproductive health right that promotes equity and reproductive autonomy.

The stigma associated with abortion, and the inaccessibility to safe, affordable, prompt, and compassionate abortion treatment, directly harm women’s emotional and physical well-being throughout their lives. Lack of access to quality abortion care threats breaching a multitude of women’s and girls’ human health rights, including the right to life; the right benefit from technical progression and its revelation; the right to the maximum qualified psychological and mental health, the right to freedom of expression and prudently make decisions on the spacing, timing, number and of children; and the right to be free from cruelty, violent, dehumanizing, and unusual punishment and punitive. Unsafe abortion contributes to approximately 4.7–13.2 % of maternal fatalities every year. It is estimated that about 30 women die in wealthy nations for every case 100,000 unsafe expulsion of pregnancy. The figure jumps to 220 mortalities per 100,000 unsafe abortions in developing countries. It is estimated in 2012 that 7 million women are examined annually in hospital facilities for complications of unsafe abortions in underdeveloped nations alone. The possible health risk following abortion includes uterine perforation, damage to the genital tract, and heavy bleeding.

Sex-Selective Abortion

Sex-selective abortion is an illegal and unethical practice that involves the expulsion of pregnancy based on the anticipated sex of the child. Selective expulsion of the female embryo is a routine practice where male infants are valued in most regions of south and east Asia, China, and lesser depth in North America. The first documented sex-selective abortion cases are dated back to 1975 and progressed into a common practice in China, South Korea, and India in the late 1980s. This process impacts the human sex ratio with a comparative number of males to females in a given setting. Sex-selective abortion follows prenatal sex discernment through post-implantation tests and obstetric ultrasonography to check sex determination makers. Different cultural backgrounds place value on a boy child; thus, pregnancy test positive for female-related genes is disputed, making individuals seek pregnancy termination. Prenatal determination is prohibited in many states, thus preventing sex-selective abortions. Nevertheless, many people are shifting to infanticide to avoid raising children of unwanted sex or infant with congenital malformation (a Rabbi & Has, 2021).

Is Sex-Selective Abortion Morally Acceptable?

Sex-selective abortion is not ethically acceptable. First is significant to understand the difference between unrestricted abortion and “sex-selective abortion. Women have the basic right to decide when to have a child, several children to sire, and the right to bodily integrity, free from male enslavement of body invasion against her will. Even though women have the right not to be pregnant, be a parent, or have a child, these rights must not extend to choosing the type of child a child bring up. Sex selection implies there is no respect for humankind. Choosing sex is a “commodifying” practice that makes people things (de Silva de Alwis, 2018). The concepts of commodifying human beings are rising in the contemporary market context, which involves viewing people as objects to be viewed and moulded. Secondly, making choices before birth involves placing certain expectations on how the child will be. This concept alters the relationship between the parent and the unborn child, transiting from ‘gift’ to ‘contract.’ The idea of unconditional parenting erodes when the parents do not love their child based on their sex. Parents should morally love their children how they are or whoever they are (Rehmann-Sutter, 2021). Rejecting a child based on undesired sex is purely social reason and not ethically acceptable as it moves beyond the contractual model of the child-parent relationship.

Some governments are attempting to address the concept of sex selection by instilling solid policies and laws that criminalize healthcare professionals and women who obtain or provide safe abortions on the bases of fetal sex. Many scholars and ethics have disputed the assumption that sex selection is an individualized choice. Norms are cultural and socially shared; therefore, if sex selection is acceptable or regular, all children are affected and possibly commodified. Perspectives of medical ethics, sex selection, and abortion activities are offensive and awful from ethical and moral beliefs that abortion is the act of killing. Moreover, this practice is restricted in the sense of consequentialism and that principles of justice are the actual virtue of public judgment. The principle of justice implies respect for human life and dignity; thus, sex selection should be prohibited at all costs (Rehmann-Sutter, 2021).

Is abortion basis on ability ethically justifiable?

Abortion is one of the most contentious topics in modern history. To promote comprehension of the controversy, humans attempt to provide main perspectives on abortion unbiasedly. They emphasize the moral arguments and underlying issues rather than any external considerations involved. Induced abortion is the most contentious type of abortion. The two major viewpoints on the morals of abortion are referred to as the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” perspectives. The fundamental pro-life assumes is that induced abortions are immoral (ethically wrong, morally banned). Induced abortions are morally justifiable, as per the core pro-choice position (morally permissible, not ethically wrong). Humanity is shown to have “human rights,” which are moral obligations or entitlement to be handled in certain ways, and legal rights bestowed by states. A human individual holds the right to life and the right to liberty. However, a pro-lifer justifies reasons for induced abortion-related health risks to the mother. Based on ability, abortion is ethically justified to alleviate the suffering of a child born in low-income families.

Several pro-lifers agree that pregnancy termination is ethically right under special situation. Such instances include circumstances in which it is necessary to terminate the baby in order to save the life of the mother, or when the mother would very certainly be at risk of death if the pregnancy was carried to term. Rape and incest are two more contentious instances. In such scenarios, the view is that the unborn is not harmless or that the fetus’s right to life can be overcome or overawed by these other circumstances or situations. In some states, abortion has been used to substitute for family planning, which is wrong. Abortion is justified when the parent has financial constraints, the mother’s life is in danger, or if the pregnancy is unwanted, resulting from rape or another form of sexual assault (Robinson, 2021). Abortion should be prohibited if the family seeks to use abortion as a contraceptive since the process can lead to disability and organ damage.

Morally Relevant Differences

An ethical attitude implies being respectful of the views of others and the norm of society, questioning decisions and doing no harm. The ethical attitudes toward healthcare practices like abortion, sex selection, and selective termination provide fundamental debate in the healthcare system. The differences between ethical points regarding sex selection and justification of abortion based on ability are based on the difference between general abortion and sex-selecting. Justifying abortion based on ability is morally permissible. This context helps alleviate suffering in bringing up children among financially unstable clients. Sex-selection abortion is ethically unacceptable because it involves commodifying humans, making them ‘thing’ and not humans. Unlike justifying abortion based on ability, Sex-selection erodes ethical respect for human dignity (Robinson, 2021).

In conclusion, abortion has been defined as the termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation. Abortion approaches differ differently, creating a controversial topic in the healthcare system. Infanticide practices involving killing infants before one year of life have dramatically raised concern in the ethical field. Thus, research on whether it should be legalized based on congenital anomalies should be discussed. Access to safe abortion is the central focus of all health sectors. Sex-selection abortion involves using technology to a terminated child of undesired gender. These concepts have been widely disputed using morally good ethics as it involves commodifying humans and viewing them as ‘thing. ‘Abortion has been ethically justified based on health risk and financial ability.


a Rabbi, A., & Has, H. P. T. G. A. (2021). Sex-selective Abortion Bans: A Disingenuous New Strategy to Limit Women’s Access to Abortion. Politics.

de Silva de Alwis, R. (2018). Women’s Human Rights and Migration: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States and India.

Jońska, A. Ethics of Abortion.

Rehmann-Sutter, C. (2021). Should prenatal screening be seen as ‘selective reproduction’? Four reasons to reframe the ethical debate. Journal of Perinatal Medicine49(8), 953-958.

Robinson, C. (2021). The Ethical Dilemma of Abortion. Journal of Student Research at Indiana University East3(1), 10-19.


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