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Sex selection and regulated hatred
  1. John Harris
  1. Sir David Alliance Professor of Bioethics, Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 John Harris
 Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics, School of Law, Williamson Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL;


This paper argues that the HFEA’s recent report on sex selection abdicates its responsibility to give its own authentic advice on the matters within its remit, that it accepts arguments and conclusions that are implausible on the face of it and where they depend on empirical claims, produces no empirical evidence whatsoever, but relies on reckless speculation as to what the “facts” are likely to be. Finally, having committed itself to what I call the “democratic presumption”, that human freedom will not be constrained unless very good and powerful reasons can be produced to justify such infringement of liberty, the HFEA simply reformulates the democratic presumption as saying the opposite—namely that freedom may only be exercised if powerful justifications are produced for any exercise of liberty.

  • sex selection
  • HFEA
  • reproductive liberty
  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

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