Week 6 Assignment:
Annotated Bibliography: (750 words in total)
Each student should find two articles published within the past five years in peer-reviewed bioethics journals on Genetic Enhancement and Treatment for Handicapped Newborns, respectively. Read each article thoroughly and write an annotated bibliography (350 words, double spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman font) on each of the two articles. The annotations should comprise:
a) Synopsis of the article
b) Strengths and weaknesses
c) Ethical principles
Here’s a sample of an annotated bibliography
Zilberberg, J. (2007) Sex Selection and Restricting Abortion and Sex Determination, Bioethics, Volume 21 Number 9 pp 517-519
This article is about how sex-selection abortion in India and China is performed to promote the birth of male children, over female children. The thought process behind this act is because in these countries, due to cultural norms, male children are more highly valued over female children. A male child is preferred and societal circumstances lead people to believe that they must have at last one son, or that sons are their only “choice”. It is also noted, that for women, selecting for a male child may seem empowering because they can gain legitimacy, earn recognition, and acquire status in their families. Even though sex selection abortion has been banned in these countries (banned in China since 1993 and sonograms and amniocenteses for sex determination were banned in India in 1994), it still happens regularly. When viewed through the lens of relational autonomy, it is obvious to see why a woman would choose to have a male baby. Women’s lives are often restricted and burdensome in these societies, often just because they are women.
The article focuses on the fact that the way to change this practice is empower women so that they don’t feel as though they are oppressed. The barriers that women face end up fostering an environment where choosing males and aborting females is a better choice for women. Autonomy for women is a main theme throughout this paper. One take on it is that women have the autonomy to choose to abort a female fetus, however, the feminist argument is that by banning abortion, you are decreasing women’s autonomy.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Some strengths of this article are that it evaluates the cultural reasons behind why sex selection abortion continues in these countries. By understanding why women choose to do this, it is easy to see why it would happen. Another strength is that the article looks at different views as to why it is difficult to make changes to the culture. Although the society is advancing and taking steps to change, until females are no longer oppressed and are valued by society, sex selection abortion will most likely continue. I think there was good factual information regarding the normal cultural practices given.
Some weaknesses of this article are that the countries are generalized, and the reader may believe that absolutely everyone in these countries believes this. There were not any statistics given to back up the viewpoints, which I felt was a weakness in this paper.
The main theories and principles that were evident throughout this article were Community and Autonomy. Community was evident because women choose to abort due to cultural practices that value males over females. They feel pressure by society to produce a male, and abort females to be able to “better” contribute to society as a whole. Autonomy is present because by women choosing to have an abortion is definitely giving them autonomy. It is a tricky situation though because banning abortion, which is almost a cultural practice in these countries, you are also taking away some women’s autonomy. If women do not have the ability to choose, they may go “underground” and have the procedures done anyway. Even though these procedures are technically banned, they are often still practiced throughout these countries.
If I were to write this paper, I would probably include more facts and statistics to back up some of the cultural statements. I think the author did do a good job of providing background information on the cultures and the reasons why people feel that way. She also explored different ways in which it may be difficult to make changes.