“Sex-selection abortion is cruel and discriminatory and legal”
By Dave Andrusko
If you are defending not just the indefensible but the ABSOLUTELY indefensible—say aborting unborn girls because they are girls—you can either tough it out and not give an inch, or respond with an “on the one hand…on the other hand” and hope nobody notices that babies will still be slaughtered because they are the ‘wrong’ sex. An example of the latter is a piece by Mary C. Curtis, a perfect example of the former is “Jill,” writing on the Feministe website.
The trick for Curtis and her ilk is to smuggle in lots of extraneous asides, which usually includes misrepresenting what the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act would do, telling us it’s a plot by male members of the House of Representatives, insisting it’s all politics, etc., etc., etc. Notice what is omitted in this collection of assorted errors, myriad irrelevancies, and menagerie of misstatements: the babies, whose lives are taken, and their mothers, who are often under incredible pressure to “get rid of” the child if the baby is not a boy.
One of the studies that was talked about but largely ignored in the coverage of H.R. 3541 is a study of “65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection on the East and West coast of the United States” over a five-year period. Written by Sunita Puri and three other researchers, the study found “that 40 percent of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses and that 89 percent of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion.”
What didn’t get quoted was the next sentence in the abstract: “These narratives [the interviews with the women] highlight the interaction between medical technology and the perpetuation of this specific form of violence against women in an immigrant context where women are both the assumed beneficiaries of reproductive choice while remaining highly vulnerable to family violence and reproductive coercion.” (See www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/05/9903/pressure-bear-sons-leads-some-immigrant-indian-women-sex-selection-abortion-study.)
For the zanies (and proud of it) like “Jill,” sex-selection abortions do happen but “rarely” in the United States so why bother to try to ban them? Beside the only reason pro-life Republicans want to save female babies from gendercide is either because they are paternalistic, closet racists, or (like Rep. Chris Smith) “has no idea what he’s talking about.” How’s that for a high-minded, well-thought-out retort? (BTW: since when does a “feminist” breezily dismiss a lethal offense against women on the ground that it happens “rarely”?)
Just so we’re clear, Rep. Smith (R-NJ) is one of the great human rights champions of our time, a passionate, relentless defender of Chen Guangchen (who exposed forced abortions in China), and is as knowledgeable about abortion in general, sex-selection abortion in particular, as probably any man or woman alive.
The Puri et al. study is not the only evidence sex-selection abortions are taking place in our country. A 2008 study by Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund of Columbia University documented “male-biased sex ratios among U.S. born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian parents in the 2000 U.S. census. The male bias is particularly evident for third children: If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%…We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.”
The United States “is a destination country for sex selection abortion,” as Smith pointed out in a speech on the House floor. According to the House Judiciary Committee Report, “women cross the border from Canada to obtain sex selection abortions in the United States.”
“Jill” and her friends may find this all an exercise in trivia, the kind of pointless exercise they would yawn at if they weren’t busy ginning up phony indignation. But for the rest of us—those with functioning consciences—we agree with Rep. Smith.
Speaking the day before the vote on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which received with a solid majority but not the two-thirds vote required for passage under the fast-track procedure that was utilized, Smith said,
“Sex-selection abortion is cruel and discriminatory and legal. It is violence against women. Most people in and out of government remain woefully unaware of the fact that sex-selection abortion was a violent, nefarious and deliberate policy imposed on the world by the pro-abortion population control movement; it’s not an accident. The Congress can—and must—defend women from this vicious assault today.”
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