01 Jul Sex Selection Abortion, Feminism, and Intellectual Dishonesty
Sex selection abortion – and the resultant 160 million girls that have been annihilated – has always had the feminists and their pro-abortion colleagues backed into a corner. I have to admit that, over the years, I’ve enjoy watching them squirm. The intellectual dishonesty of those who promote an unfettered right to abortion yet decry sex selection abortion of females has never been more clear than in the series of articles that appeared recently in the New York Times and Salon.
The book, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men” (Mara Hvistendahl) was the subject of a review by NY Times columnist Ross Douthat. Douthat notes:
Hvistendahl’s book is filled with unsettling scenes, from abandoned female fetuses littering an Indian hospital to the signs in Chinese villages at the height of the one-child policy’s enforcement. (“You can beat it out! You can make it fall out! You can abort it! But you cannot give birth to it!”) The most disturbing passages, though, are the ones that depict self-consciously progressive Westerners persuading themselves that fewer girls might be exactly what the teeming societies of the third world needed…
The scale of that number evokes the genocidal horrors of the 20th century. But notwithstanding the depredations of the Chinese politburo, most of the abortions were (and continue to be) uncoerced.
This places many Western liberals, Hvistendahl included, in a distinctly uncomfortable position. Their own premises insist that the unborn aren’t human beings yet, and that the right to an abortion is nearly absolute. A self-proclaimed agnostic about when life begins, Hvistendahl insists that she hasn’t written “a book about death and killing.” But this leaves her struggling to define a victim for the crime that she’s uncovered. (Read the review here.)
The author, Mara Hvistendahl, was not pleased with the review and responded to Ross Douthat here. But Hivstendahl’s intellectual dishonesty is again on display. She fails to answer this basic question: “If you determine that the unborn are not human beings, why would it matter to you if you abort a ‘fetus’ on the basis of its sex?” The mere fact that Hivstendahl is disturbed that female fetus’ are being aborted – and sees it as an affront to the value of women – indicates that she believes the “fetus” is a female pre-born child and not just a mass of meaningless tissue.
Ross Douthat sums it all up in a follow up article, where he points out the beliefs and the worldview of liberals and feminists:
[T]he right to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental liberty, like freedom of speech or freedom to worship, and fundamental liberties by definition trump consequentialist arguments about their negative effects. Pro-choice liberals may care (deeply, in many cases) about those negative effects. But their principles come first, and those principles rule out the most direct approach to combating sex-selective abortion in the developing world and permit only very gradual and indirect approaches instead.
Douthat ends his column: “…the pro-life side is well within its rights to point out that the liberal West’s current vision of human freedom bears responsibility for 160 million (and counting) missing girls.”
And for me, it seems sex selection abortion is just another in a long line of examples of how radical feminism, abortion, and other things done in the name of “female empowerment” have harmed rather than helped women.
Be sure to read through the series of articles: