Hoisted on Her Own Petard, and Mad as a Hornet about it

By Dave Andrusko

Mara Hivistendahl

What if you are “pro-choice” but (at least rhetorically) uncomfortable with its unlimited application? What if you write a book that exposes  the horror of sex-selective abortion, which has cost the lives of 160 MILLION females, and then (to your horror) a reviewer concludes that the book is “aimed, like a heat-seeking missile, against the entire intellectual framework of ‘choice'”?

Well that would make you a very uncomfortable Mara Hivistendahl, author of “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men.” It would also make you the author of still another attempt to prove that your amazing book provides no such intellectual weaponry, in this instance an article in Foreign Policy magazine, entitled “The Abortion Trap: How America’s obsession with abortion hurts families everywhere.” 

As was pointed out on another pro-life website, Hivistendahl’s bottom line defense in her Foreign Policy article is “[S]electing for sex — or any other quality — is different from a woman’s decision not to carry a pregnancy to term.” Consider…

“But what if a woman’s decision not to carry a pregnancy to term is based her desire to select for sex? Then aren’t they one and the same?”

There are ironies galore in her piece, starting with a sharp, indeed withering critique of “the 1960s population control enthusiasts,” which includes the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, mentioned in her book although not in this article.  She writes

As I delved into this history for my book, the tragedy for me became this cold foresight: the fact that some prominent activists and scientists actually anticipated the side effects of widespread sex selection — that a massively imbalanced sex ratio at birth would result in rising instability, risks for those women who are born, and a social environment bordering on what one early proponent described as a “giant boy’s public school or a huge male prison” — and yet dismissed those effects as necessary ills in the quest to solve humanity’s problems through technology. They knew, and still they plowed ahead.

But her real criticism is for “anti-abortion activists” who ”have been at work in a disingenuous game, using the stark reduction of women in the developing world as an argument for taking away hard-earned rights. Conservative theorists have written openly about how sex-selective abortion is merely a convenient wedge issue in the drive to ban all abortions, both in the United States and abroad.”

If her point is that we desire to return legal protection to all unborn children, I plead guilty. But what makes her book so dangerous to her fellow pro-abortionists is not that we can parley resistance to sex-selective abortion into a more-or-less total ban on abortion.

To backtrack for one second– the logic that drives these abortions is at bottom no different  than any other abortion: we want THIS kid out of the way because [fill in the blank].

But the impact is multiplied many times over because sex-selective abortions turns pro-abortion feminism’s ideology (female empowerment) against females.

We won’t kill [exercise our choice] if the unborn is male but we will kill [exercise our choice] if the unborn child is female. This is daft by anyone’s definition.

Take ten minutes out and read Hivistendahl’s essay. Don’t worry if you can’t follow all the twists and turns. They are not meant to illuminate but to get the reader off on rabbit trails.

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