The book, Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl, outlines the history of population control, abortion, and sex selection from a pro-abortion standpoint. Using this information, I will outline 3 issues regarding this movement: recurring ideas, unrestrained parental control, and the power of unique life. These issues will be separated into three different blog posts, this is part one.
Gender is devastatingly skewed in many areas of the world. At least 160 million women are missing because of sex selective abortion, that is the population of women in the United States. Many developing countries (i.e. China, India) have been choosing to abort their girls. This shortage of girls has led to prostitution, kidnapping, and child brides. This is a serious concern.
While many believe the gender imbalance is based on negative traditions and sexism, the same thing is happening in the United States. While less developed countries want boys, the US wants girls. Abortion is a cheap and prevalent option in developing regions while in the US sex selection happens at conception through IVF, in vitro fertilization. In both cases the issue is not religion or lack thereof, developed or developing, new traditions or old. It boils down to parental choice, with no regard to the child’s rights. While choice and reasonable control are not bad things, once it infringes on the rights of another, and in this case the unborn child, it becomes disastrous.
While the author does not want to admit there is a link between abortion and increasingly poor and overreaching choices, I will. The whole concept of abortion is for parents to create the world they want instead of planning or dealing with the consequences of their actions, or life in general, which as we all know, is difficult sometimes. Humanity cannot be determined by another human’s decision to want that life, an embryo or fetus will either grow into a human, or it won’t. Humans definitely come from human embryos and fetuses, making every human embryo/fetus human – a person – uniquely important.
This brings us to my first point. Rationalizing the rights of children for the choices of adults is not new. This misuse of power is an old tradition, an old idea. I was aware that children, throughout history, have often gotten the short end of the stick. Adults are bigger and more experienced, kids are largely at their mercy. This is a big responsibility, one that I, as a budding adult don’t take lightly. However, I had thought that the new technology and popular arguments against the life of a fetus were new and original. Not so.
As this book outlined the history of population control and abortion I was interested to learn that, until the Middle Ages, some European cultures believed life did not begin until days, in some cases months, after birth. Many, many babies were killed with this belief in mind. I was shocked by how similar these beliefs were to some of the ideas that are believed today. Certainly both ideas, at the center, are rationalizations for adults to use their strength and intellect for the detriment of those weaker and more vulnerable.
Infanticide in this case would be considered wrong by almost everyone today, and yet new technology has given new life to this old, terrible custom. This old, terrible rationalization. Ultrasound was not around in the Middle Ages. Had it been available it is clear to me that abortion would have been used. Instead, conveniently, life didn’t begin for a few days after birth, long enough to determine the gender of the child or, perhaps, any disabilities. Those babies have all been lost and it is a tragedy.
Some argue that abortion may (in some cases) be more “humane” in that it is considered a medical procedure. It is mostly done in sterile rooms, (usually) before the child has ever taken a breath. And yet, in the Middle Ages or now, the outcome is the same. In most cases, if left alone, that child would have grown into an adult. Does it really matter if the child has grown 2 weeks inside the mother, or two weeks outside? Terminating at any stage of development, this not so new idea, ends a human life. The casualties include at least 160 million baby girls.