Sex-Selective Abortion Follow-up

Tuesday, June 5, AD 2012

I recently posted on the topic of sex-selective abortion. After seeing an article on LifeSiteNews on the recent Congressional vote on the sex-selective abortion bill, I felt a little bit of a follow-up was in order. LSN’s Steve Mosher writes:

 [T]he vote on PreNDA has exposed dozens of Democrats, along with a handful of pro-abortion Republicans, as pro-abortion extremists. After all, what else are we to call those who favor abortions performed for the sole purpose of eliminating unborn baby girls because of their sex?

Call me the perpetual nay-sayer if you will, but I find this entire statement to be flawed from top to bottom.

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11 Responses to Sex-Selective Abortion Follow-up

  • Bon, I suggest you read Professor Hadley Arkes’ brilliant analysis on the topic on “The Catholic Thing” web site before reaching any final conclusions.

  • First, unless it is really justifiable, I really dislike throwing around the word “extremist.” Whether we like it or not, roughly half of Americans support the abortions status quo and even more believe it should be legal in certain circumstances deemed sufficiently sympathetic. It can hardly be considered “extremist” to simply vote pro-choice, and labeling it as such is really a distortion.

    Seriously, read that again.

    I don’t think any other word but “extremist” can define pro-choice, or better labeled pro-abortion. If ever something deserved the label extremist, a pro-choice mindset does.

    On a side note, but within this topic you have to watch this political ad by Joe the Plumber.

    Its Brilliant!

  • Mosher’s early experience, of course, was with China. There, probably, sex selection is the main motive for abortions, particularly the uncoerced ones. In China, as it happens, sex-selective abortions violate the law–but the law is unenforceable. If one is inclined to oppose the bill in Congress, this would be a sounder reason than adducing the opportunism of its proponents.

    Mr. Bonchamps’s  refusal to rank-order reasons for opposing abortion makes a certain abstract sense. If, say, we make a fuss about partial-birth abortion, this could be taken to imply that we have nothing against abortion in principle, only a particular procedure.

    But the world is not an abstract place, and the pursuit of opportunistic targets can perhaps serve to bring the reality of abortion home to a public which, if truth were told, does not want to think about the issue at all (it’s icky; people with strong views on things are annoying–whatever). But fussing about partial birth abortion forces people to realize this really is butchering s baby. And fussing about sex-selection exposes the lie that it’s all about the welfare of women. And maybe some who facilitate these horrors will come eventually, in the depth of theirs souls, to rethink just what it is they are trying to accomplish.
    The logic in the abortionist camp is the mirror image of Bonchamps’s. Of course they don’t want to slaughter baby girls for the sake of slaughtering baby girls. But they are scared to death of anything that would legitimate any restriction on abortions, since, in their mind, any concession is bound to lead to others, and to the destruction of any pretense that there is a morally-valid rationale for abortion. I,for one, hope they are right about this. I can’ claim to be the “historian, philosopher, and strategist” Mr. Bonnchamps informs us he is; but I think attacking an enemy line its weakest points is often a valid tactic.

  • For the record: we are all historians, philosophers, and strategists.

    A few get paid to be so.

    As for the rest, its not the specific tactic of attacking an enemy at the weak point that I object to. It’s the subtle distortions of reality, such as the claim that voting against the SSA ban necessarily indicates that one believes it is a “good” thing. That has the air of overt propaganda.

  • It’s not shocking at all to me. If you’re pro-choice, then you’d logically support sex-selective abortion if it’s what the mother truly wants. That’s no more extreme than being pro-choice in itself; it’s simply consistent.

  • What? It is exactly this line of liberal thinking that gave us “abortion on demand” until the very delivery date, euthanisia, infantacide. As well as all of the anti life agenda. 4,000 unborn babies a day, for the last 39 years, untold babies being “allowed to die” in their bassinets in cold sterile hospital utility rooms. Call a spade a spade. The rationalization of abortion by anyone is extreme. “Sing a little Louder”. As the boxcars moved passed the churches filled with worshipers, they, being loaded with discarded humanity, the worshipers were advised to “sing a little louder” so as to not hear the whining of the steel wheels upon the tracks. By not labeling a spade a spade on the anti life issues as Catholics are we not just advising people to “not feel uncomfortable” with their deadly opinions and their deadly votes?

    loads of humanity, the congregants inside were told to “sing a little louder”.

  • Jeanne,

    I don’t think we get anywhere by calling things that are accepted by half the population, and have been accepted by many different civilizations throughout history, as “extreme.” If anything, evil is usually mundane, ordinary, and normal. It is Christianity that appears on the scene as extreme, as an extreme challenge to the evil everyone has become comfortable with.

    I LIKE extreme things. I hate that the word has come to mean something bad. To be a deviant in dominant culture of death is a good thing.

    I also like my words to represent reality. I always call spades spades. I think we may just define spade differently.

  • It’s the subtle distortions of reality, such as the claim that voting against the SSA ban necessarily indicates that one believes it is a “good” thing. That has the air of overt propaganda.

    Well, if you vote for it you certianly don’t think it’s a “bad” thing.

  • Voting to preserve “choice” doesn’t necessarily mean that one likes one of the potential choices. Plenty of “pro-choice” Dems believe it is a bad choice, but ought to be a legal one.

    Of course we disagree with this view. Of course their logic is flawed and their morality compromised. But I simply don’t believe that anyone voted against the ban because they think sex-selective abortion is actually a good thing. They were protecting a larger interest. That’s what politicians are elected to do. I refuse to react with faux outrage.

  • PRM I thik that Bonchamps point is that just because we getting angry about a particuler type of abortion doesn’t mean we are properly being about the main problem with abortion which is denying life at such a innocent and early age that the person has not even seen the light of day.

  • I am so sorry I posted the same comment three times because I did not think it posted please delete two of them.

Choice and Gendercide

Friday, June 24, AD 2011

Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal featured an interesting review of Mara Hvistendahl’s new book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. The topic is one that pro-lifers are all to familiar with — the use of sex selective abortion throughout the world which has resulted in the death of 163 million unborn girls being aborted over the last 40 years, specifically because their parents wanted a boy instead. (In other words, over and above all of the abortions going on for other reasons.) The sheer number of “missing girls” is staggering — imagine a number of women equal to the current total populations of France and the UK combined.

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In “Unnatural Selection,” Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that’s as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

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6 Responses to Choice and Gendercide

  • Sex-selective abortion is a problem that more stringent abortion laws and government regulations will not change, because the root of the problem is cultural. These cultures do not value their women; they are seen as inferior and undesirable when compared to sons for various reasons, many of them financial (see, for example, the use of dowries in India). If these cultures started treating their women with respect instead of as commodities, there would be less “incentive” to abort a female child, and women would be less pressured by their families to abort for this reason.

  • The British stopped suttee in the Nineteenth Century by threatening to hang those who immolated a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. Cultures do change in the face of laws that are enforced. If one is waiting for sex selection abortions to end as a result of oriental cultures equally valuing women to men, than in regard to some of those culutures I suspect one would still be waiting when Gabriel sounds the Final Trump.

  • I understand what you are trying to say re: sati, but from what I’ve read, the practice of sati never reached epidemic proportions, and was practiced only in certain sects of Indian culture. It still occurs very rarely in India, even though there are laws against performing and even observing sati. It’s disingenuous to say that the British stopped it, and it’s not comparable to sex-selective abortion.

    “Cultures do change in the face of laws that are enforced.” I agree. But the key word is enforced. Dowries were made illegal in India in 1961. Nonetheless, due to insufficient enforcement, it’s still a common practice, to the point that women who refuse to pay dowries (or have “insufficient” dowries) can find themselves verbally and physically abused, even murdered.

    If you were to simply outlaw abortion (sex-selective or otherwise) in these countries, yes, there would be a rise in female births. However, there would also be a rise in female infanticide and neglect. An unwanted female child will not suddenly become wanted because of legislation. Education (teaching, among other things, that daughters have rights, and are valuable members of society, just like sons) is an essential factor in changing cultural attitudes, perhaps the most important one.

    Please don’t misunderstand me and think that I am advocating or approve of sex-selective abortion. But singling out and focusing on abortion over all other things is like treating a broken bone with painkillers — it’s treating a symptom and failing to deal with the reasons why it’s happening in the first place.

  • The British did stop suttee for all practical purposes. A law cannot stop all incidents of any brutal practice, but it can greatly reduce the rate of occurrence. Laws against infanticide can greatly lessen the chance that a parent will murder their child, just as the absence of such a law can mean that infanticide becomes accepted as was the case in ancient Greece and Rome. With the rise of Christianity, laws were passed against infanticide. They did not work overnight, but the incidence of infanticide was greatly reduced, and orphanages were established to care for abandoned children. Cultures rarely change by themselves until the law points the way.

    Today, advocates of abortion promote abortion as a safe and legal solution to unwanted children within the womb for any reason or no reason. In that environment I have a hard time understanding how an advocate of legal abortion can say that a sex selection abortion should not occur, while still steadfastly holding that abortion for no reason is acceptable. Once the law begins to ban certain types of abortion, then the “abortion liberty” is in danger, which is why advocates of abortion fought so hard to preserve the disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion.

    Atheist and uber pro-abort Richard Dawkins has no problem with sex selection abortions in theory as long as the deaths are handed out even-handedly:

    “Even sex selection itself and selective abortion of early embryos is not necessarily a social evil. A society which values girls and boys equally might well include parents who aspire to at least one of each, without having too large a family. We all know families whose birth order goes girl girl girl girl boy stop. And other families of boy boy boy boy girl stop. If sex selection had been an option, wouldn’t those families have been smaller: girl boy stop, and boy girl stop? In other words, sex selection, in societies that value sexual equality, could have beneficial effects on curbing overpopulation, and could help provide parents with exactly the family balance they want.”

    His main point is that it is the nasty religious and cultural prejudices against women of societies that are to blame rather than scientific abortion for sex selection abortions aimed exclusively at girls. He is, as usual, wrong. The problem is people believing that it is perfectly proper to kill children either in or outside the womb for any reason or no reason.

  • One would think that in a society where women are scarce, they would be treated with GREATER reverence and protection, kind of like we treat endangered species of plants and animals or rare materials like gold or jewels. Instead the opposite seems to be the case — they get treated worse, subjected to all sorts of violence, coercion and discrimination. Maybe some environmentalist group should declare Chinese and Indian women to be an endangered species? (Of course it will be a cold day in hell before that happens…)