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Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children
Parents routinely turn to prenatal testing to screen for genetic or chromosomal disorders or to learn their child’s sex. What if they could use similar prenatal interventions to learn (or change) their child’s sexual orientation? Bioethicists have debated the moral implications of this still-hypothetical possibility for several decades. Some commentators fear that any scientific efforts to understand the origins of homosexuality could mean the end of gay and lesbian people, if parents shy away from having homosexual children. Others defend parents’ rights to choose the traits of their children in general and see no reason to treat sexual orientation differently. In this book, Timothy Murphy traces the controversy over prenatal selection of sexual orientation, offering a critical review of the literature and presenting his own argument in favor of parents’ reproductive liberty.
Arguing against commentators who want to restrict the scientific study of sexual orientation or technologies that emerge from that study, Murphy proposes a defense of parents’ right to choose. This, he argues, is the only view that helps protect children from hurtful family environments, that is consistent with the increasing powers of prenatal interventions, and that respects human futures as something other than accidents of the genetic lottery.
About the Author
Timothy F. Murphy is Professor of Philosophy in the Biomedical Sciences at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. He is the author of Case Studies in Biomedical Research Ethics (MIT Press, 2004), Gay Science: The Ethics of Sexual Orientation Research, and other books.
--Hilde Lindemann, Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University"—
--Lawrence M. Hinman, Professor of Philosophy, University of San Diego"—
--Autumn Fiester, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania"—