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Varieties of Gendercide

In the UK, where abortion based on sex selection is illegal, the Telegraph reports that doctors have been caught on film telling patients not to worry—they won’t abort and tell:

Doctors at British clinics . . . admitted they were prepared to falsify paperwork to arrange the abortions even though it is illegal to conduct such “sex-selection” procedures.

Gender-based abortion is a crime normally associated with countries where women are oppressed and disempowered. It is outrageous that it is happening in a Western bastion like the UK. The malfeasance of the doctors facilitating this phenomenon is both shameful and appalling.

Then again, under our enlightened system here in the United States, gendercide is one hundred percent legal and protected. Our doctors don’t have to lie or worry about hidden cameras; they just do it in plain sight.

Via Meadia can’t help wondering: Is the unconditional right to terminate a pregnancy based on the gender of the unborn child really a goal of the modern feminist movement? Or have feminists, abetted by a complacent public, made a wrong turn somewhere along the road?

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  • WigWag

    “Via Meadia can’t help wondering: Is the unconditional right to terminate a pregnancy based on the gender of the unborn child really a goal of the modern feminist movement? Or have feminists, abetted by a complacent public, made a wrong turn somewhere along the road?” (Walter Russell Mead and cohort)

    The answer, of course is neither. The goal of the feminist movement is for a woman to have autonomy over her own body without any interference from the the government or anyone else. A woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy is her own and the government should have no right to enquire about why she is making that decision.

    The good news is that it doesn’t.

  • Anthony

    A conversation certainly requiring imput and perspective from ViaMeadia’s enlightened women contributors in my opinion WRM…

  • Susan

    It’s the unconditional right to privacy that makes laws regarding abortion so hard to accept. You may think personhood starts when egg meets sperm, I don’t think it starts until there is brain wave activity (the lack of which is considered death), someone else thinks 35 weeks gestation, and so on. What is not disputable is that the pregnant woman is a person, and like it or not, her vote trumps that of anybody else. She’s going to do what she feels she must, law or no law. Her salvation (or lack there of) is a matter for her, her doctor and her Maker. And take this particular law. Somehow it is murder if your intention is to gender select but it isn’t if the baby has Downs? That is a logical inconsistency I can’t stomach. Bottom line, if we’re so perverted that culling babies based on gender is acceptable, we’ve got a problem no law is going to fix, and putting a doctor in a position where he or she has to explain the intent behind the decision to perform a legal procedure is not the place of government. Let’s work on solving problems like poverty and the lack of child care that might really make a difference in the lives of women and their unborn children.

  • Kansas Scott

    I am assuming the sarcastic “gendercide is one hundred percent legal and protected” indicates ViaMedia believes the best way to get rid of something it disagrees with is to criminalize it

    That doesn’t seem consistent with it’s view on a number of other issues where it supports economic forces and educated public discourse as more effective at achieving real change than just saying “you can’t do that.” Part of that discussion would include first showing that we have a problem with gendercide in the US that requires legislation.

  • http://None Jerry Arnold

    No, no! You’ve got it all wrong. The fems raising only girl children are simply trying to tap into the demographic problem that China has. Their excess girls are going to marry the Chinese excess boys. The left will then announce that it has achieved nirvana and will castigate the right for its refusal to celebrate their Progressive solution.

  • elisa

    I could speak for myself, but in speaking my own opinion it will be obvious that I would not be accepted by modern western feminists. If I address why my opinion is anathema to modern western feminists, my response would head in the direction of a critique of the failings of western feminism.

    But in short, I think our modern feminists have painted themselves into a corner.

  • Jack

    Most feminists don’t much care about sex-selective abortions; they’re far more concerned with keeping abortion fully legal and as widely accessible as possible. The fact that sex-selective abortion generally targets girls more than boys is apparently of little concern to feminists.

    As for whether, as WRM suggests, society has taken a “wrong turn” in allowing sex-selective abortion, a society that legalizes abortion on demand in the first place has ipso facto taken a “wrong turn”. Such a society does not value human life and fails to recognize that human capital is the most valuable component of any healthy society.

  • Splashman

    @wigwag wrote: “The goal of the feminist movement is for a woman to have autonomy over her own body without any interference from the the government or anyone else. A woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy is her own and the government should have no right to enquire about why she is making that decision.”

    Translation from femspeak: “The goal of the feminist movement is the power of life and death over the children they conceive.”

  • Splashman

    WRM wrote: “Via Meadia can’t help wondering…”

    Via Meadia has an opinion on the subject. I request you state it clearly, instead of taking the easy way out, by posing questions.

  • BillH

    If a woman has absolute say over each and every bodily matter, why can’t she snort cocaine, sell sexual favors, or smoke pot with impunity?

    Ron Paul may be lacking in a lot of things, but at least he’s consistent.

    / Not a Ron Paul supporter.
    // Not a Libertarian.
    /// Not pro-abortion nor anti-abortion.

  • Corlyss

    “Is the unconditional right to terminate a pregnancy based on the gender of the unborn child really a goal of the modern feminist movement?”

    Yep. The modern feminist movement was late to the substantive changes in American society that empowered women, claimed the credit for liberating them from . . . what, their foundation clothing, and fighting hard for unrestricted abortion. That wasn’t what Roe v. Wade stood for, but that’s what it evolved into and because the Dems are so beholdin’ to single dependent women with kids who think they can’t survive without the government, now a major party stands for infanticide. Gotta love those Progressives. I’m all for abortion availability. I’m 100% against abortion as a means of birth control when with a little forethought so many other means are available. The abortion rate in this country is a national disgrace.

  • Jay

    WigWag: “The goal of the feminist movement is for a woman to have autonomy over her own body without any interference from the the government or anyone else.”

    I’ve heard many advocates of legal abortion make this argument. Setting aside the problematic nature of simply ignoring the question of whether an unborn baby has rights that deserve legal protection, I have an honest question: Is there any logical basis for someone who accepts this argument *not* to support full legalization of drugs and prostitution?

  • Kris

    I am very disappointed by your sloppy thinking. “Gender-based abortion”?! Gender (or “sex,” if one prefers) is an attribute of organisms. That-which-is-aborted is not an organism. “Gender-based abortion” is thus a logical impossibility.


  • vanderleun

    “normally associated with countries where women are oppressed and disempowered. ”

    Well, let’s not get too specific about the actual demographic makeup of the UK these days. People bring their cultures with them.

  • Iustus Peccator

    As one commenter naively asserts: What is not disputable is a that a pregnant woman is a person.

    History is replete with disputes over who counts as a person. It is foolish to think such disputes won’t be revisited.

    The enshrinement of abortion has kept the dispute of “true” personhood heartily alive by its utter solipsism. Its’ credo is: “An unborn child doesn’t count as a person if the mother (or demanding, abusive sperm donor) says it doesn’t.

    In a society thus ordered, we should not be surprised when the dispute of who counts as a person expands.

    It is the staunchly anti abortion crowd that undertands personhood is not a matter of personal preference or political fiat.
    In their refusal to bargain about “brain waves” and “cognitive abilities” and”adverse conditions into which no one would want to be born” they are announcing that no matter the developmental stage, gender, ability, race, sinfulness or religion, a person is in fact a person.

    They will have the unwavering place to stand whenever the debate of “who counts as a person” rears its’ evil head. And it will. Or is now.

  • savedaughters

    It is estimated that about 50 million girls have gone missing. They are aborted based on their sex. India has passed laws 18 years ago making it illegal for a medical practitioner to reveal the sex of an unborn baby. This law is rarely implemented because most of the government officials and judiciary are apathetic to this epidemic. This has caused the sex ratios to be extremely skewed in certain parts of India. Please read the following articles and the story of one lone woman, Dr Mitu Khurana, who has bought a case against the hospital, her husband and in- laws, who illegally found out the sex of her unborn twin baby girls and then tried to force her to have an abortion. She has been given the run around for four long years by the Indian judicial system.

    Can anyone give a voice to the 50 million girls that have been silenced forever? All Dr. Khurana is asking for is a chance to go before an unbiased judge and be heard. Can we all give a voice to the 50 million murdered and raise the question with Indian officials as to why they are silently witnessing the elimination of a whole generation. The silence of the Indian officials tell the story and makes us wonder if Dr. Khurana and the 50 million dead baby girls will ever see justice done. Please give those 50 million girls silenced forever, a voice. Please forward this to as many friends as possible.

    This is Dr. Khurana’s story and website.

    Here is her ABC news interview with Elizabeth Vargus.

    Please take the time to read her story and sign the online petition at this link:

  • Wifman

    Sadly, the article does not say who are the parents of those aborted babies.

    Looking around at the population in London I cannot help but wonder if these people are only first-generation Europeans who come with their 9th century values to our 21st Century world and reject everything they see as “godless”.

    P.S.: Someone said above that it is always the woman’s choice. If my suspicion is right, the women will have very little to choose from in this matter…

  • Cunctator

    Why is it so hard to grasp that the fetus is a person because it cannot be anything else? To make all sorts of academic distinctions — EEG-readings, viability, etc. — is really to engage in needless and obfuscatory debate. Anyone who has seen a baby being born cannot possibly believe that it was ever anything but a human being from the moment it was created.

    Today, we look back on slavery as unconscionable and a great stain on our civilisation. We shake our heads at what happened during the Holocaust, and make all sorts of pledges about human rights. Meanwhile, we deny the most vulnerable the same sort of attention. I wonder what our descendants will say a century from now about us.

  • Ed Snyder

    Perhaps Via Meadia could begin its wondering from a different starting point. Like: When is it ever licit to take an innocent human life, which is always the outcome of abortion? Or, perhaps: What other kind of reaction would anyone expect from feminists who, after all, must promote this monstrous practice as loudly as they can in order drown out the objections of their own consciences?

  • Kenny

    Wiggie @1 is close to it when she writes: “The goal of the feminist movement is for a woman to have autonomy over her own body without any interference from the the government or anyone else.”

    Here, the woman actually wants far more than ‘autonomy over her own body.”

    What is really being demanded is the right to murder her unborn baby.

  • EvilBuzzard

    I’m just shocked and amazed that people who earn a living sucking 8 or 10 babies to pieces with a vaccuum would indulge in unethical paperwork. It simply staggers the mind…. I’m sure NICE will intervene and make sure they kill an equal number of male babies so that we don’t have gender bias in Great Britain’s state-sponsored baby-snuffing operation.

    If there’s one thing that ticks me off worse than Illinois Nazis, it’s an abortuary that violates people’s civil rights!

  • Andrew Allison

    @susan nailed it: “She’s going to do what she feels she must, law or no law.”
    Reprehensible as gender-based abortion is, no law is going to prevent it. Worse yet, we must ask: which is the greater sin, gender-based abortion or infanticide?
    The USA has conducted numerous experiments in prohibition, and learned nothing from any of them!

  • elisa

    It is not as if contraception is not widely available.

    It is not as if unwed motherhood is stigmatized – see the latest numbers on that.

    It is not as if there is nobody who will adopt.

    It is not as if micropremies are not nurtured along in NICUs from ever younger ages, even while their luckless peers are aborted.

    Some people feel they must commit armed robbery, some feel they must murder. They do what they feel, law or no law.

    Those of us who have heard heartbeats in the first trimester and seen ultrasounds in the second cannot unknow what we know. Bringing a new life into the world is a chancy business subject to miscarriage and many other risks. Are you on the side of championing life and willing to aid and succor life? Or not?

    Imagine one day you will need someone to be merciful to you, and have mercy.

  • Gerald Owens

    Wigwag, in the effort to get something for nothing, uses the word “right” in reference to abortion, being careful not to mention whether it is a civil right or a human right.

    A civil right is a form of right that is granted by the government to engage in an activity that, being granted by the government, can be subject to regulation by the government. A “HUMAN” right is a form of right possessed by human beings that is, per our constitution, unalienable: it is not one that is to be granted or taken away by any one or any thing.

    It is clear that abortion is a civil, not a human, right because the Supreme Court declined to extend the definition of “person” to include unborn human beings. They then determined, at the federal level, that regulation of abortion was not a right/duty of the states, thus devolving to the people. Wigwag hopes, by using the term “right”, to create a context in which people are forced to finance abortions, but this is the usual liberal powerplay used to empower government to be the necessary middleman for the movement of funds.

    But if it is a “HUMAN” right, then there is a problem, because the concept of “person” is a legal term, while “human” is a biological term: the moment someone says they want an abortion because of the sex of the fetus, they are referring to a property of a human being that already exists, and abortion is intended to kill that human being. Tying abortion to *true* contraception is to deliberatly confuse the issue: there is no right to be *conceived* because there is no human being possessing such a right *before* conception. Abortion is *post* conception, *after* a human being has come to exist, and thus possessing *human* rights.

    Imposing conditions for “humanhood”, such as brain waves/heart beats/sensation of pain/physial disability/mental disability, create more problems than they purport to solve when applied to already born human beings, and actually are posed to avoid the real problem the fetus is posing that “necessitates” the abortion: any such disabilities that supposedly would “disqualify” the fetus from humanhood are temporary. Regardless of how one feels about terminating medical intervention to sustain life in the face of life-threatening (or “dignity”-threatening) conditions, I do not believe anyone has advocated that life support be pulled from anyone if there is a near certainty of recovery. Odds of 75% of a positive outcome of full recovery are considered worth the pain, risk, and expense. At last estimate, 6% of abortions are for the “hard” cases of rape, incest, extreme physical deformity, and physical threat to the mother, leaving 94% as having no other basis than to deprive human beings of rights that would have to be respected if they were allowed to continue normal development. A “grown up” analogy would be to declare that the protections of the American constitution would be granted to Mexicans who make it out of a three mile buffer zone north of the American/Mexican border, but do nothing to any american citizens within that zone who shoot dead those attempting to “qualify”. Of course, “Human rights” advocates would scream bloody murder about such a three mile zone, but zip their hypocritical lips and say nothing about the 15-odd inches separating the inside of the womb from the outside.

  • a nissen

    I have been reading David Owen’s new “The Conundrum, How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse” Add— And Make Our Social Problems Worse Too.

    Our family lore includes several relatives who in the early 20t century lost their own lives aborting a third child they felt they could not support, either mentally or financially. Losing less women with greater efficiency has brought increased frequency and a whole new set of ethical issues.

    Like the choices Owen raises, the choices here are even more absolutely personal and the consequences as global. I agree with Susan, some conundrums no law is going to fix. Far beyond choosing red over blue Sophism, WRM, how about taking us to the heart of the matter?

  • RSC

    I want to bring this up in the reasonably reasonable confines of Via Meadia. I was taught–decades ago in Catholic school–that at conception strands of DNA from the male and female combine to form the unique genetic code of a new individual. So, there is a scientific basis for when a person exists, not just when a woman thinks the fetus is a person. I don’t hear this argument much anymore and wonder if there are some qualified scientific types out there who could comment.

  • Tom Richards

    I am staggered at the number of people who seem to take it as unquestionable that there is no important distinction between biological humanity and moral personhood. There is a real and complex debate to be had as to what attributes might make an entity a person, and while genetic membership of the human species is certainly a candidate to be such an attribute, it does not seem to me an obviously privileged one.

    As to the specific matter at hand, it seems to me that while foetus may or may not be morally a person (or may be increasingly a person as it develops, personhood plausibly being a matter of degree), an identity group is most certainly not a person. Abortion is either manslaughter, and unconscionable, or an elective medical procedure, and legitimate for whatever reason the mother-to-be-or-not-to-be may have, gender-selection included.

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