For the unlucky foetus conceived with two X chromosomes to parents who would rather have no child at all than have the burden of a girl, making it through a full-term pregnancy is no guarantee of a life to come. A research paper by Nancy Qian of Yale found that for every 100 females aborted in Taiwan after the procedure was legalised, 10 additional girl infants survived. Because parents could select for sex before birth, they were less likely to select for sex after birth – that is, less likely to kill their unwanted girl children, either by neglecting them or simply murdering them.
That means that sex-selective abortion makes a considerable and alarming contribution to the number of “missing women” out there – the women who statistically ought to exist, and yet never somehow come into being. But the uptick in infant survival for girls tells us that, where termination isn’t an option, parents find other means to act on their preference for boys. As grotesque as this femicide is, and whatever one believes about the rights of the foetus, it’s a terrible trade-off to make: baldly, how many murdered girls would you tolerate to see an increase in the number of female live births?
It’s a strikingly unpleasant dilemma. And if we decide that actually, yes, we do think some infanticide is a better outcome than many abortions, and declare sex-selective terminations unsupportable, another ugly moral expanse opens up. Because now we’re talking about preventing women from exercising choice about their own bodies and their own fertility. Preventing it with the best feminist motives of wanting to save female lives, sure – but preventing it all the same. The systematic elimination of girl children is a terrible wrong, but taking away the rights of adult women seems like a backwards way of protecting females.
Ultimately, though, this shouldn’t be seen as a medical dilemma, but as a social one. The way to prevent sex-selective abortion isn’t to legislate against it or attack the women who seek it – it’s to create cultural changes that transform the place of women. By offering girls education, training and opportunities for employment, femicidal traditions can be uprooted, and a world that values women and fully recognises their right to exist created instead. To get there, though, we must first accept that women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, on their own terms. Because if no one gives them autonomy in their own skin, why should they believe that their potential daughters deserve it either?
As I’ve asked before, what’s the big deal to pro-aborts when it comes to aborting a baby on the basis of its sex? If it shouldn’t be an issue to abort an unborn child because it will “interfere” with your social life or college education, why should we be concerned about the boy baby bias in countries like China and India? Sure, it equates to blatant discrimination against women, but what’s the more important “right”? The right to not be discriminated against on the basis of your sex, or the “right” to choose whether or not you want to terminate your unborn child?
The pro-abortion group Center for Reproductive Rights came out years ago in support of China’s ban on sex-selective abortions, on the basis of being against discrimination of women. I guess their rationale is the more women we have in the world, the more opportunities we have for indoctrinating them to support … a woman’s right to choose, for whatever reason she sees fit. While the writer of the above piece does not support anti-sex-selective abortion legislation, the “we need more women in the world” mindset is one she appears to take. In a nutshell, she supports changing the pro-boy “cultures” in China and India so as to get them to “respect” women more so they won’t interfere in any “private” decision relating to having an abortion – even if it means having an abortion for whatever reason she wants to give, including on the basis of the baby’s sex.
I swear, you simply cannot make this stuff up.