The Ghastliest News Of The Year?
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  • WigWag

    “In each place, parents are ordering sex-selective abortions to have sons—even in countries that ban prenatal gender-determination technology—largely based on the calculation that sons will contribute financially to the family and better provide for them in their old age. It’s the economy, not just cultural mores, that is creating a generation of ghost girls and lost boys.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Who knows; as defined benefit pension plans disappear, as defined contribution plans turn out to be insufficient to provide for a comfortable retirement and if the looming threat to reduce social security benefits are realized, it may not be long before
    gender based abortions become more prevalent in the United States.

  • vanderleun

    Actually there was a study some years back that aimed to show that abortions had cost the Democrats the presidency in 2000.

  • If that sort of news doesn’t turn your stomach, you’ve got no heart.

  • Kris

    In each place, parents are ordering sex-selective abortions to have sons […] largely based on the calculation that sons will contribute financially to the family and better provide for them in their old age.

    After several stints in re-education camps, I have finally been convinced by my betters that a woman’s concern for her financial future is a perfectly legitimate and incontestable justification for an abortion. How then could they possibly have any problem with the issue you describe?

    Ah, I see, you’re just trying to trick me into reverting to “women must be barefoot and pregnant.” Well you’re not going to fool me with your demagoguery, no Siree. I now know better: A woman’s place is not in the kitchen! Rather, women apparently belong in dumpsters, by the many lifeless millions.

  • Supply and demand. The value of a woman will increase when fit men are unable to find a mate. A sick way to reach that conclusion but I foresee benefits in China. You want a girl, you have to have a good job, buy a condo apartment, impress her and her family with expensive favors.

  • Walter Grumpius

    “One suspects that many of these gender-based abortions are forced on wives by husbands and relatives…”

    Okay, here’s my counter-argument: one suspects that the reverse is true.

    See how flimsy that is?

    Good gracious, what would kindly old Mr. Tinsdale (the charming but demanding high-school English teacher who tutored every clever person at some point) have to say about such stuff?

  • Corlyss

    “One suspects that many of these gender-based abortions are forced on wives by husbands and relatives;”

    I don’t know why this would necessarily be true. Nobody knows how fragile life is for women in the cultures where gender based abortions are so numerous than child-bearing women. Those cultures are one scratch way from primativism where brawn more than brains determines a secure old age. Why shouldn’t women look out for their senior years by preferring boys over girls?

  • Corlyss

    @ vanderleun

    I put about as much stock in such a claim as I do in Levitt & Dubner’s claims that abortion in the 70s accounts for the precipitous decline in crime in the 90s-present.

  • Charles R. Williams

    Every deliberate abortion is a crime. If the score were evened out by aborting more male babies, the crime would only be magnified.

  • Skewing the sex ration can also effect the demographics of war I believe. For some reason I find myself remembering reading in Gibbon how among the Goths women shared the councils of war and fought along side their men on the battlefield. Of course the Romans still won, but it looks like Angela may have the last laugh.

  • Mrs. Davis

    This practice will haunt only those cultures that practice it. The Korean example shows that this need not be the future and that society itself will find ways to disincent the practice. Then it can start on the elimination of abortion for convenience.

  • LarryD

    James Taranto has been commenting on what he calls the Roe Effect since 2005.

    If you examine the fertility data at the state level, the more Progressive a state leans, the more its fertility looks like Europe. The Conservative states have fertility rates above sustaining level.

    Back when US’s fertility rate was around 1.8, I used to worry. Then some reporter let slip another fact, 1 woman in 5 in the US wasn’t having kids at all. When I worked out the fertility rate for the other 80%, I quit worrying.

  • DavidM

    As the father of 3 wonderful daughters, this thing makes me want to vomit.

    Cultures and economics be dam-ned, anyone who can do this isn’t qualified to call themselves a human being.

  • What isn’t mentioned is the end result of a “surplus” of men who can’t find mates – war.

    Throughout history, if there aren’t enough women to go around, men will fight each other in order to be the one whose DNA makes it to the next generation.

    And you can bet your bottom dollar that once they get that woman, they aren’t going to let her out of their sight, for fear that someone else will steal her away.

    And then you’re right back to the “barefoot and pregnant” society that the feminists were trying so hard to get away from.

    The more things change….

  • pep

    “As the father of 3 wonderful daughters, this thing makes me want to vomit.”

    Hah! I have four. Life is good.

  • justaguy

    If one looks at history with an unjaundiced eye, it is easy to see other cultures that gave up on living: namely the Greeks and then the Romans underwent the same disease — see Spengler (the historian, not the pundit). Societies give up, slow birthrates and kill their daughters until they are replaced/conquered by a society that has a reason to live. The exposing of daughters has been going as long as man has had society. We are returning to the mean –unfortuately.

  • Tonestaple

    1. In favor of families pressuring women to abort girls, I point to the recent murder of an Afghan woman by her husband and mother-in-law because her third child was another girl. I’m sure if sex-selective abortion were available, she would have been coerced into that. Yes, I know that’s not proof, but it’s hardly the first story of this sort I have read. I can’t think of any primitive societies that have a preference for girls, and if they can avoid the consequences of chance, they will.

    2. For a little light reading on this topic, may I suggest “The Rainbow Cadenza” by J. Neil Schulman. It’s not the greatest novel in the world, and it occasionally bogs down but its premise is a world where women are at a premium and how they solve the war problem.

  • Mrs. Davis

    “As the father of 3 wonderful daughters, this thing makes me want to vomit.”

    Hah! I have four. Life is good.

    Make sure they elope.

  • Eurydice

    If earning power determines the value of a human, then the solution here is for women to be able to earn more. But, somehow, I think this is not the real issue.

  • a nissen

    No I think the grossest news is the man and his mother who beat his wife every time she produced a girl, and at the third killed her off (Canada is punishing them). And to think that at one time their country of origin was quite enlightened.

  • C Good

    Just finished reading “Unnatural Selection” by Hvistendahl. It is about exactly this topic, abortions because of the fetus’s gender & the consequences for a society as a whole when the gender ratio gets skewed.

    The two biggest things I took away from the book:
    1) Much of the gender-ratio at birth problems in developing countries, or countries such as Korea & Japan that were still developing countries back in the 1970s — and also trends for high numbers of abortions in general & low fertility rates in general — can be traced back to the overpopulation panic of the 1970s. Many of the foreign aid & non-profit organizations, such as the World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, & the Ford Foundation, played key parts in encouraging (sometimes very *strongly* encouraging, “either do this or we might not approve your aid money” encouraging) lower childbirth rates, higher use of abortion, and an emphasis on boys. Because women gave birth to more kids & many families who had only girls would keep having kids until they got a son, abortion of female fetuses in particular was at times even promoted as a desirable result.

    2) In a larger sense, part of the problem is parents who see their kids as customizable accessories, not as individuals. Hvistendahl covered the controversy about U.S. fertility clinics that can (and do) screen for gender in sperm, as well as doctors in India who reported seeing client who wanted to get an abortion because the child they were carrying would be born under an undesirable astrological sign.

  • ErisGuy

    What mass death of girls? Aborting clumps of parasitic fetal cells which aren’t even human (because if they were human, they’d have a right to life) is not a “mass death of girls” anymore than swatting a mosquito (only the females bite) is gendercide.

    Clumps of fetal cells aren’t human–I know, I went to college. And clumps have no rights in need of respect.

    As to feminism leading to evil: this is the expected outcome. Nothing “ironic” there.

  • ErisGuy

    “With so many more young males in the world unable to find wives and alienated from family life, prostitution and human trafficking, as well as increased crime and violence, will result.”

    If these evils result from too many male genitalia, what evils are inherent in female genitalia?

    “As the father of 3 wonderful daughters, this thing makes me want to vomit.”

    If you’d had a son, the paragraph I quoted would have done the same.

    “These distorted SRBs”

    If you know the proper number of men and women in each society, please propound theories on the proper number of homosexuals, whites, blacks, etc. for a society.

    Dr. Mead, have you lent your column out to student editorialist?

  • Weirddave

    “clumps of parasitic fetal cells which aren’t even human”

    Here’s one Lincoln liked: “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?” The answer is 4; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Likewise, you can claim all you want that an unborn human being isn’t a human being, but the truth mocks you, and I suspect by your hyperbolic attempt to call a tail a leg that deep down you know it. I pity you.

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