It’s a Girl! And It Doesn’t Matter

I don’t like gimmicks. And though I am sure I will offend a few people by saying as much, I believe that the recent focus of pro-life activism on sex-selective abortion has the air of a gimmick, one of the latest in a series of end-run appeals to the public. There is the legislation being pushed by Trent Franks (R-AZ) that would punish abortionists who fail to determine if an abortion is requested for sex-selective reasons. There are also the efforts of Live Action and its leader, Lila Rose, whose methods I have questioned in some cases and outright rejected in others.

Let’s start with my first problem with this focus: say sex-selective abortion is actually outlawed. How will this be enforced? All a pregnant woman has to do is, when asked if her abortion is due solely to the fact that her child is a girl, is say “no.” I guess a few might answer honestly, but then, who is going to make sure that the abortionist is asking the question in the first place? I remain highly skeptical regarding the effectiveness and enforcability of such laws.

More importantly, though, they would signal to me, and I think to a majority of Americans, is that there is an abortion status quo that will not be undone. Certain kinds of abortions will be outlawed and shunned even by most liberals, but other kinds of abortions will be perfectly acceptable and only opposed by radicals and extremists. This has already happened to some extent with the partial-birth abortion issue. I don’t like this distinction either, to tell you the truth – a late-term baby doesn’t have greater value than an early-term baby, and yet the ban on partial-birth abortion can’t but convey this message indirectly. But here we at least have a somewhat more enforceable ban, since you can’t conceal the age of the unborn child. All a person has to do to get a sex-selective abortion is tell a simple lie. Legislation can’t stop this.

I will be honest with you all: I don’t see why I ought to be especially horrified because a child was murdered due to its sex. As soon as this becomes the issue, the original issue – whether or not abortion is murder – becomes less immediate and therefore less relevant. I’ve already seen it happen to some extent with the issue of nationalized healthcare. Before the contraception mandate, the issue was whether or not such a scheme was moral or practical. After the mandate, the dispute was over whether or not our government healthcare scheme would force religious institutions to cover items they found objectionable. One way to legitimize a controversial action is to get everyone talking about something else, preferably something that assumes the permanent legitimacy of the once-controversial action.

Now, I’m not suggesting that there’s going to be some massive problem here that leads to a total political failure. But, and you can all me an idealist if you like though I don’t see it that way, I have a real problem with even suggesting or implying that an abortion for a reason other than sex-selection might be ok. I can’t bring myself to imply something like, “abortion is bad, very bad – but sex-selective abortion, well that is absolutely abominable!” And that’s exactly what this focus does. I don’t believe for a moment that the pro-life (as opposed to feminist) groups opposing sex-selective abortion actually believe this. But we can’t always control what we imply, especially when we try to cut a short path to people’s consciences.

All of this isn’t to say that I don’t think the issue itself is worth discussing. The popularity of sex-selective abortion in certain cultures is a damning indictment of radical feminism, which for so long insisted upon “choice” and is now somewhat unsure of itself. Is the “choice” to abort a girl because she is a girl illegitimate? Or must all “reproductive choices” be unconditionally respected? These are difficult questions for them and there’s no reason not to stomp down on this twisted ankle with all the pressure we can bring to bear.

However, we pro-lifers have no reason to ponder such questions. We already have the answers. Abortion is always wrong, no matter what the reason. No one reason is better or worse than any reason, because there is no reason that can ever justify the murder of an innocent child. As soon as some reasons become more heinous than others, then the less heinous reasons become a little more acceptable to the less ideologically firm. We musn’t for a second even imply that some reasons are worse than others. Whether we are talking about a woman who might otherwise be a good mother but aborts because she perceives that the child will have a bad life, or a woman who has an abortion because her pregnancy interferes with her vacation plans, we are talking about an inherently evil and disordered act that can never be condoned.

And, with due respect to my co-blogger, I’m not going to co-opt the phrase “war on women” to describe any of this. Studies indicate that far more abortions than typically imagined are in fact coerced (another topic for another day), but the truth is that the majority are willingly sought out and participated in. This means that most of the women who obtain sex-selective abortions do so willingly. They often hail from cultures which have historically valued boys over girls, and they have absorbed these values as their own. Are women waging war on themselves? No. They are (usually but not always) responsible for their actions. They aren’t victims of a phony “war.”

The war is against innocent, defenseless life. The war is against nature, against natural law and natural order. The war is against a spiritual and transcendent view of things by a debased materialist-hedonist ethos. I don’t want to hear about the evils of sex-selective abortion anymore. I want to reaffirm why abortion as such is a blight on civilization and a plague upon our souls. If we can’t convince people that unborn human beings have value in spite of whatever reasons their parents or leftists or feminists might have for wanting to be rid of them, then this means the culture hasn’t sufficiently changed. And if that hasn’t happened, nothing else we do really matters.


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  1. I agree with you in essence but the fight against abortion cannot be won, if it can be won at all, in one fell swoop. It’s an incremental process. By chipping away at the pro-aborts, progress can be made. BTW, the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are unfortunately wrongly framing the issue. It really boils down to “pro-life” and “anti-life.”

  2. This article entirely, I mean ENTIRELY, misses the point. The modernist/secularist/humanist view – of which abortion is a component – is irrational and needs to be called out as such. The entire internal logic of abortion is that it “empowers” women to take control of their fertility and allows them to live their lives that limits the “burdens” of childhoods to times and circumstances of their choosing. But if that “choice” involves disproportionally preventing females from being born just because they are females, how can abortion continue to be touted as pro-woman?

    I vote for attacking the enemy at every turn when its logic collapses in on itself. Planned Parenthood and its allies simply MUST maintain their “doctrinal purity” by advocating abortion on demand at any time and for any reason. When the times and the reasons appear strange and nonsensical to the average American, we win.

  3. As a matter of abstract principle, it is difficult to argue that one murder is worse than another and, here, Bonchamps is right enough.

    However, when we look at the history of criminal law, that is the investigation and prosecution of murder or other crimes by state officials, in the public interest, rather than at the instance of the injured party or his kindred, we find the rationale has been the amount of alarm and insecurity that it produces in the community. Thus, parricide, from the earliest times, was treated as a particularly heinous public wrong, as striking at the very foundations of social order.

    In the same way, the selective abortion of girls can be viewed as an attack on the foundational social and political value of equality, in the same way as racially-motivated crimes are singled out for special condemnation in most European jurisdictions.

    I would stress, once again, I am talking about murder as a crime, the subject of public prosecution, and not its moral gravity.

  4. There are two ways of viewing this issue. One, if some lives are saved, and people are more able to voice their disapproval of some abortions, then ground is gained. Two, if the most subjectively offensive abortions are outlawed, then the remainder become societally acceptable. Bon takes the second view. I can view the issue either way depending on my mood.

    I wish more people realized that by week 6, a fetus has a heart beat and brain waves. I hope that realization discourages people from getting abortions even in the first trimester, and definitely later. But I realize that may just inspire people to be more prompt in getting abortions.

    The morning-after pill makes the problem even worse. It’s like the firing squad shooter who may have blanks. He doesn’t know if he killed anyone, and it allows him to sleep at night. That’s going to be tough to talk people out of.

  5. The male child allowed in China’s one child policy is the social security of the parents. The male child, when grown, will care for his parents. A female child may not be able to care for and be the support of her elderly parents. In America, the male child carries on the family name. Female gender abortion proves that feminism has failed, that the feminists could not make the female over into the male. The female gender cannot be made over into the male. Because our laws criminalize discrimination according to gender, the hope is that by using this law more babies may be saved. This same law may be used to save male babies as well, for it is wrong to discrimate according to gender, male AND female.

  6. Dear Bonchamps,

    It is not that sex-selective abortion is worse than every other types of abortion. But, the videos shows clearly that one can schedule an abortion using any really stupid reason as because it is a girl.

    Support Lila Rose.


  7. What I don’t understand is pro-choice feminist opposition to sex-selective abortion. They’re all about giving the mother choice – unless it’s a choice they don’t like?

  8. Kristin

    I suppose they would argue that socially entrenched gender bias produces a false consciousness in the women who choose sex-selective abortions, making them complicit in their own oppression – a sort of Stockholm syndrome

  9. Strategy vs tactics? Opposition to all abortion is easy to encompass morally. However, rooting it out in all its insidious forms invoves some specifics.

    Analogy: Since chemical weapons are “banned,” is death by flame-thrower any better? And that’s an honest question, not a challenge wrapped in inquiry.

    Dunno – Is there a point at which something is so reprehensible that degrees of reprehensibility no longer matter? Gonna ponder this one for a while.

  10. 1. It is awfully insulting for you to call a baby girl “it” rather than “she”

    2. If abortion is murder why should the leaders of planned parenthood be hung in Nuremberg Deutschland?

  11. Joe Green I think we should call to mind the order given to crush the Serpents head rather than slowly trying to cut the end of the tail.

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