Letter: Morals and merits of sex selection clinics

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The Independent Online
Sir: The apologies given by Ronald Ericsson for sex selection clinics are very unconvincing ('British attitude 'is arrogant hogwash' ', 23 January). He argues first that sex selection has been established in America for a long time. There is no virtue, however, simply in a practice's age: the electric chair has also been established in America for a long time, although this would not be one of the first things to come to mind as a hallmark of civilisation.

Dr Ericsson also argues that 'if you do not allow people to take advantage of it, they will seek it elsewhere'. This argument is a subterfuge. It is reminiscent of British firms producing torture equipment for export: if they did not do it, companies from other countries would, and would gain the profits.

You report that 'Doctor's say many Asians value boys more than girls'. Perhaps, but so too do many Europeans. The historical repercussions of primogeniture and institutionalised sexism (eg women in the UK not obtaining the vote on the same terms as men until 1928) still affect much parental thinking.

If sex selection clinics do become common in the UK, they will not so much originate a problem as allow existing prejudice to become manifest. It must be very doubtful whether legal prohibition of such clinics would help in any way to eradicate sexual prejudice. Law is not an instrument of education.

Yours faithfully,

GARY SLAPPER

Law School

Staffordshire University

Stoke-on-Trent

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