Rightings: Ethics and human sex variation


Mary Beth Mader


This review assesses a rare and insightful philosophical examination of the ethics of the medical management of sex-atypical children. In Making Sense of Intersex, Ellen K. Feder crafts an ethics that would shift several common foci of the contemporary debate on her topic: from questions of gender to the ethics of normalization; from individual or parental autonomy to a general corporeal vulnerability; and from parental medical proxy rights to the interdependency of parent-child relations. The review identifies some seemingly unavoidable conundrums that would remain unsolved after such shifts: the continuing role of gender in normalizing medical aims, the utility of an undifferentiated concept of vulnerability in medical decision making, and the place of cosmetic medicine in general.

Publication Title

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics