Sex discrimination feminists can believe in

It’s pure and systematic gender discrimination based on the notion that men are better and more valuable than women. It leads to the deaths of females and distorts the societies of its practitioners. It is a third world practice that is being enthusiastically imported in the first world, and feminists are making no effort to stop it.

I’m talking about the practice of selectively aborting female fetuses because males are valued more highly. It is the modern equivalent of infanticide, and it is widely practiced in countries such as China and India, where it is distorting population dynamics with ominous results. Now comes word that gender based abortion is making inroads in the US.

According to economist Jason Abrevaya:

The evidence from the California natality data is particularly striking for Indian births between 1991 and 2005: second-born children are 0.9 percentage points more likely to be boys, third-born children 6.6 percentage points more likely, and fourth-born children 8.1 percentage points more likely. Moreover, Indian parents are significantly more likely to have a boy (and a terminated pregnancy since last birth) if they have had only daughters previously. [This] suggests that the unusually high boy percentages among third- and fourth-born Indian children in California would be consistent with gender-selective abortion rates of around 10%. …

The data on Chinese families is similar, suggesting that literally thousands of female fetuses are aborted in the US each year simply because they are female, and therefore less desirable.

It is the purest form of sex discrimination imaginable, yet the people who should be most outraged are maintaining a studied indifference. This issue ought to pose a serious moral quandary for feminists On one hand, as abortion rights proponents, they believe in the centrality of a woman’s unfettered right to control reproduction, including the right to abort a child that she does not want. On the other hand, selective abortion of girls is clearly a product of sexist values that place a premium on the lives of boys, and treat girls and women as second class citizens.

Unfortunately, feminists are willing to look the other way at this obvious and cruel form of gender discrimination because they apparently value an unfettered right to abortion more highly than the lives of unborn girls. They are willing to countenance the deliberate, sexist practice of selective female abortion in order to “protect” the right to abortion.

It’s worth asking why they aren’t willing to countenance restrictions on abortion to protect unborn girls. The answers aren’t pretty.

First, acknowledging that sex selection by abortion is morally wrong would mean acknowledging that all abortions are not equally justified. The prevailing belief among feminists appears to be there can be no bad reasons to have an abortion.

Second, and perhaps more important, acknowledging that sex selection by abortion is morally wrong would mean that abortion involves something more than scraping amorphous “tissue” out of the uterus. While it would not confer personhood on an embryo or fetus, it would confer qualities such as gender and the potential for moral value that abortion rights activists would prefer to forget.

The end result is that feminists have collectively decided to look the other way as thousands of female embryos and fetuses are destroyed each year for no better reason than the belief that men are superior to and more valuable than women. Ironically, gender based selective abortion is sex discrimination that feminists can believe in.

  • AlisonCummins

    The problem is not abortion, it’s sexism.

    If a woman has the right to determine whether or not she becomes pregnant or carries a pregnancy to term, then she has it. Not only sometimes when I think it’s ok. Always. There are lots of good and bad reasons to do lots of things and I’m capable of forming opinions about many of them. That doesn’t mean I want the responsibility of having all 5 billion people in the world calling me up every time they need to make a decsion to see if I think their reasons are good.

    If I don’t want women having abortions for reasons of sexism… well, there are a lot of angles that could be tackled from.

    Let’s legislate that men do all the housework. That way mothers of young children could focus on childcare and earning a living and would feel less burdened when they became pregnant for the third time in three years.
    Or maybe we could make sure that all families have access to adequate paid parental leave for a new child. That way families could work out childcare arrangments for infants in a way that worked best for them and then return to work without having to make all-or-nothing decisions about who sacrifices a career.

    Or perhaps subsidized daycare so that mothers can keep working when they have small children and continue to put food on the table.

    Focussing on the evils of exotic forms of sexism-caused abortions brought in by foreigners is not helpful.