Can Parents Choose to Have Gay Children?
There are also outliers like me who would choose to have female children or gay children and would balance things out.
Jacob M. Appel is a bioethicist and fiction writer. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Brown University, an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Columbia University, an M.D. from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has most recently taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. He publishes in the field of bioethics and contributes to such publications as the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications.
Appel has also published short fiction in more than one hundred literary journals. His short story, Shell Game With Organs, won the Boston Review Short Fiction Contest in 1998. His story about two census takers, "Counting," was shortlisted for the O. Henry Award in 2001. Other stories received "special mention" for the Pushcart Prize in 2006 and 2007.
He is admitted to the practice of law in New York State and Rhode Island, and is a licensed New York City sightseeing guide.
Appel contributed a Dangerous Idea to Big Think's "Month of Thinking Dangerously," advocating that we add trace amounts of lithium to our drinking water to help reduce the suicide rate.
Appel is a Big Think Delphi Fellow.
The research on this is still rapidly evolving, but some genetic component to sexuality will be found. There clearly is some hormonal component in the womb. There may be some environmental component too. We simply don’t know yet.
I do think over the course of time, we will be able to unravel whatever the complex web of causes of homosexuality, or for that matter, whatever the complex web of causes of heterosexuality are. And once we can do that, then parents are going to have to face the choice, and they should be able to make the choice about what kind of child they want.
I think parents should be able to choose whether they want to have male children or female children. I think in this country, not many people would do that. I think the only limitation on that should be if there is a mass structural dislocation. So I can understand why India might prevent parents from making a choice because of the fear of having an overwhelming number of men in relation to women. I would say Sweden, without those same cultural concerns, should be allowed to do this.
I would also add for what it’s worth that in cultures where there may be people who choose male children or straight children, there are also outliers like me who would choose to have female children or gay children and would balance things out.
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