A century ago, eugenics, the science of breeding "better" humans, was considered the "queen of the sciences." Then came the Holocaust, in which millions of Jews, LGBT+ people, people with disabilities, "Gypsies" and others were murdered by the Germans in the name of purifying the Aryan race.
The first to be sent to the gas chambers were those deemed "lives not
worth living": people with disabilities and "deformities."
Germany lost WW II, and afterwards, eugenics was abandoned in the polite
sciences, and replaced with genetics. No longer was it considered
ethical to speak of breeding better humans by eliminating
"undesirables;" instead, genetics was to improve life by addressing
itself to pure science or to curing medical suffering.
eugenics never really went away, and it's operating today through
various reproductive technologies such as selective implantation of
embryos, and, quite commonly, through prenatal screening for
"disorders," which are then "treated" via "therapeutic abortion." Among
those characteristics that can been screened for and eliminated are
those forms of intersexuality with a genetic origin.
medical ethicists today state that selective abortion of female embryos
is unacceptable, because there is no medical condition, simply a social
preference. Yet termination of pregnancies involving intersex fetuses
is deemed ethical, because we are deemed disordered. In essence, this
"ethical" position is that it's ok for doctors to select fetuses with
disabilities for termination, as it's rational for us to be considered
"lives not worth living."
OII Australia has submitted the
following comment on guidelines for the use of assisted reproductive
technologies in Australia, which you can find here. It argues that
intersexuality is not a "disorder," but rather a natural variation. It
further argues that medically selecting against intersex pregnancies is
akin to selecting against female pregnancies, being based on social
biases, and should be considered unethical.
I'm all for that,
but I'd go further. I'm pro choice, and believe a pregnant individual
should have the ability to terminate an early pregnancy at will, based
on her assessment of her readiness and ability to carry a pregnancy to
term. But I have grave moral reservations about eugenic abortion--a
termination of a pregnancy based on the characteristics of the fetus as
determined by doctors. Elective abortion at will relates to people's
reproductive autonomy, but eugenic abortion focuses on what types of
people are considered valuable or disposible. And, as someone who is
Jewish, LGBT+, and intersex, I see a clear continuity between my being a
candidate for the gas chamber were I living in Nazi Germany, and my
being a candidate for selective abortion were I conceived today. I
cannot countenance eugenics.