abortion, China, hypocrisy, India, no consequences, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Roe v. Wade, sex-selective abortion, sexual politics, Supreme Court, unwanted children
In its 1973 landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion. This decision gave women control of their own reproductive choices, and freed them from the potential slavery of unwanted children.
However, in 2012 there is growing concern that some parents may be abusing this fundamental right. Although a relatively insignificant problem in the West, sex-selective abortion has radically changed the demographic makeup of countries like China or India, where boys are more highly prized than are girls. To prevent the wholesale erasure of an entire generation of girls, advocates say that even in countries like the United States where sex-selection is rare, parents shouldn’t be told the gender of their child until late in the pregnancy, except in the most extreme cases.
If fetal identity protection is enshrined into law, it could prove a godsend for all women, even those as-yet unborn. The elimination of the gender-selection loophole would limit abortion to those women with any one of the many acceptable reason for undergoing the procedure, such as not wanting a child, but would prevent individuals from terminating their pregnancies for reasons as odious as not wanting a girl-child.
El Guapo said:
I think it’s more of a backhanded attempt here to impose more restrictions on abortion despite being unable to flat-out outlaw it.
I’m waiting for a liberal state to require gynecologists to show pictures of these asshats to expecting mothers and warn that their children may grow up to be like them if they don’t abort them.
Ha ha! That might do something to slow the population explosion.
I don’t think this is so much a “back door” plan to outlaw abortion, because many of the people who oppose identifying the gender of a child are actually pro-choice. I think it’s more a case of extreme ideological inconsistency.
Cakes and Shakes... said:
I love this response 🙂
Hmm, interesting. The abortion issue is a tough one. I’m in favour of abortion even if I’m not sure we (meaning my wife and I) could do it. I’ve never considered the abortion because of gender issue.
I would add in the UK it is more common to wait until the baby is born to find out the sex, not that many find out beforehand. It is purely a cultural difference. When I moved over here and we got pregnant, I was surprised how many people found out the sex before birth. I have no idea if that has any impact at all on abortion rates (which in itself, if different, could be for a number of reasons).
Sex-selective abortion has become a big deal in Asian countries, where the ratio of men to women is becoming increasingly lopsided. Many social scientists believe that the effects of sex-selective abortion will be fairly catastrophic, with higher incidences of crime and other social ills. That’s all theory, of course.
South Korea begin taking pains to reverse this trend in the 1990s, and I think in future decades they will be in much better shape than some of their neighbors.
Until I actually had kids, I never thought I wanted to know the gender either. But the first two were twins, so we figured we’d better find out, and with the next one, well, it was the third kid so….y’know.
I wonder if it will increase violent and violent sex crime?
I wasn’t bothered either way about knowing the sex so when the opportunity was there I thought we might as well. As it turned out, with the way he was positioned when we had the relevant ultrasound, I could pretty much tell he was a boy even before the nurse mentioned it. If we have another we will likely find the sex of that one out as well.
Madame Weebles said:
Wow, serious Smak today. I agree wholeheartedly with you. And this draconian mindset is biting them in the ass, too, because men in India and China are now finding it really difficult to find wives, because there just aren’t enough women. Soon there won’t be enough women available to have offspring, and their populations will plummet. Which on the one hand isn’t terrible given the huge overpopulations of these two countries, but on the other hand, it’s going to fuck them over big time.
Very, very true–see my comment to Elliot above. In general, married men are more stable, more prosperous and less likely to commit crimes than unmarried men. Some of the more dire predictions talk of a rouge generation of “lost men.” I’m sure it will do wonders for the “Mail Order Bride” industry. I understand South Korea has its act together.
I strongly believe that abortion is wrong in almost all circumstances. I believe Roe should be overturned and abortion outlawed in all but the most dire situations (rape, incest, genetic defects incompatible with life, which account for less than 2% of all abortions.) Most abortions are performed simply because pregnancy is “inconvenient.” That’s the fact that the rabid pro-death crowd doesn’t want people to understand.
That being said, we all know how that fetus got there, and both parties have the ability to say no to that act should they be unable or unwilling to deal with the prospect of pregnancy. There is all the time in the world for “choice” before you choose to spread your legs. There are effective forms of birth control should the prospect of pregnancy be “inconvenient” but the thought of a celibate life too much to stomach, and sterilization is 100% effective.
Take responsibility for your sexual behavior- instead of sacrificing an innocent party who didn’t ask to be created in the first place.
The bias in many societies toward that precious male child is a strong one. Making the child’s gender a deciding factor on whether or not to abort isn’t terribly common here in the US (though I am sure it has happened.)
The ease of obtaining abortion in this country does, however make expectant mothers with unplanned pregnancies targets for parents who strong arm daughters into abortions (went to high school with a few girls who were forced into that position and they are permanently mind fucked) and even boyfriends/husbands who try the same thing (my ex and his evil mother tried to do that with me when I found out about my son’s impending unplanned arrival- but I didn’t let them get away with their coercion.)
Why not encourage adoption? There are millions of infertile couples out there who would be incredibly blessed by a child. The problem with adoption though is that some localities make it almost impossible for anyone to adopt, but that is a rant I’ve already ranted.
Strongly disagree. Our population is out of control and people who are barely responsible enough to raise a Fish, much less nurture a child correctly, should have the option to avoid doing so. If the only two options people believe in are A) you don’t deserve to have sex or B) you MUST overcome your immaturity, lack of a job and substandard mental health and carry/ raise that baby whether you like it or not ….well that’s not rational, but if those are the options then we’re all doomed anyway.
I don’t see abortion going anywhere, but I don’t like to see it used as a contraceptive. Much as we’ve become lax about HIV/AIDS because of drugs which can help people live more normal lives, I think we’ve also become more blase about pregnancy. Unfortunately, our thinking on this devolves into two camps–Abortion is Murder vs. Abortions for everybody all the time. In this way, abortion has become yet another “You’re either with me, or against me!” issue.
While I’ll certainly grant my position is not popular, but it’s not as if pregnancy just happens. It’s not a condition that just gets imposed on one out of the blue. There is an element of cause and effect and personal responsibility here. While some of the people who are breeding are the last people who actually should be, and there is an irony there, we forget that there is an innocent party involved. What is so terrible about encouraging adoption? It’s certainly better than taking out an innocent life. There should at the very least be safeguards in place to protect women from being coerced into abortion against their will.
Trinity River said:
Sorry but I could not disagree with you more. The last thing we need is yet another law telling women what we can or can not do or know about our bodies and what is going on inside them.
The bigger picture here is why are boys considered more valuable than girls in the first place?
Hmmm…You may disagree with something, but I don’t think it’s me.
Trinity River said:
I don’t agree that we need a gender law. If you were being tongue in cheek, my apologies 🙂
No apology necessary, but I don’t think we need a gender law.
William Miller said:
No girls means no Women’s Studies courses. No Women’s Studies courses means more unemployed college professors. More unemployed college professors means more annoyingly overqualified servers at your local Starbucks drive-through window. More annoyingly overqualified servers at your local Starbucks drive-through window means more times you will be asked, “Do you want tzatziki dip (pronounced disconcertingly accurately) with your goat cheese and garden veggies?”
And that’s a future no one wants to see.
Bill, that should be the final paragraph of this piece. I don’t believe I could have said it so eloquently or persuasively.
William Miller said:
Thanks, man. Your fearless topics always inspire me.
I appreciate it, Bill! Again, the anonymity thing helps. Not just in the obvious way of (hopefully) preserving my anonymity, but also in providing me a little mental distance from the issue, so that I can hopefully make the points I want and not let my own opinions (and I’m an opinionated mofo) creep in too much.
Every day I’m more shocked and saddened that saying these things IS risky. Public mores change so quickly, and we’re so fast to leap upon those who fall behind. For a nation that has so long prided ourselves (and remarkably, continues to do so!) on Freedom of Speech, we’ve become decidedly squishy about what we say.
I think if we were more able to throw ideas into the ring, heinous ones would more quickly dissipate. Because some ideas are forbidden, these people find themselves in like-minded groups, feeding off the polluted group-think.
I fondly remember the days a comedian could tell an off-color joke and you wouldn’t hear nervous groans from the audience.
Say, you’ve stirred up a hornets nest, not to mention the above issue about Starbucks’ servers. But when can MDs identify the fetus’ sex? At least 12 or 13 weeks into pregnancy. And abortions are usually done before that, no? I don’t think that sex of the fetus is a consideration in most abortions anyway. And I don’t think it’s government’s job to decide and interfere with a woman’s personal decisions. It’s interesting that conservatives say that they want big bad gov’t out of our lives, but then they want gov’t to legislate about family planning and who we have sex with.
Actually, I met my wife at the Social Security office and we had unprotected sex at the IRS office, so we both think the gov’t has an important role to play…..
That’s an audit for sure!
I agree with you Bumba–much of what I write in general is tongue-in-cheek.
And here in the US (and I believe, the West in general, although I don’t know) sex-selective abortion is very rare. However, in many Asian countries it is becoming increasingly prevalent, although they are taking measures (such as the “no tell” laws I mention in this post) to prevent it.
I think it’s hypocrisy of the highest order. If it’s not a child, then it doesn’t have a gender.
Agree. Ever hear George Carlin’s comment on anti-abortion advocates? It’s too obscene to quote here – even for Promethean Times.
I believe so…from “What am I doing in New Jersey?” Most of these people are folks you wouldn’t want to….
Is it that one?
Damn, Bumba–you’re old school. Or, medium-old school I guess.
Actually I was a drop-out
I think it would be terrible to not have this choice. And this makes it seem like the choice in the US is always to choose a boy. I wonder what the statistics are on most common US choice. Personally I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t prefer a girl. There isn’t a person alive who could look at aggressively male dominated countries, and the shitpiles they are, and make any rational argument or even mildly convince me that they’re better because of their mysoginistic leanings. Just sayin’
Well, the sex-selection problem is LESS of an issue in the US (at least at this point), and I hope we don’t establish “gender-secrecy” laws. Like I said in my comment to Bumba, if it’s not a child, then it doesn’t have a gender.
Yes. I thought that was a very good point you made!
I don’t even know what to say. This gender choice thing is appalling. I…what…nevermind. Good post, Smak.
Hi Smaktakular; certainly a can of worms
I was recently at my local store being served by a wonderful young (married) girl enjoying her pregnancy. I asked if she knew the gender of her little bump to which she replied. “No, and we’ve chosen not to. What does it matter as long as it’s healthy?”
So true, and yet so many are not in this ideal situation. My heart goes out to them. I don’t know what the answer is; certainly making a woman do anything about such a personal issue ‘by law’ doesn’t seem to be the ideal answer. It would seem that everyone has a different opinion and should be allowed to have a voice. Perhaps that’s the answer.
Here is my stance on abortion. Are you ready?
It’s none of my fucking business. I’m not a fetus, and I haven’t been a pregnant woman in years.
Cakes and Shakes... said:
The predictable firestorm of opinions – this is such a sensitive topic. Well, far be it from me to refrain from jumping right in. Firstly I think that the law in question smacks of eugenics. Abortion on the base of gender preference is clearly wrong, and would pave the way for a Pandora’s box of ‘dubious reasons for terminating a pregnancy’. However, in principal I think abortion should be safely and freely available and that women should be able to choose, for whatever reason, not to continue. Until you have been that person, faced with the hardest of choices, you absolutely cannot say – think also of those unsuitables who continue with a pregnancy and raise a child, unwanted, and in hardship – it’s pure romanticism to say that every individual woman should carry a child into this world for adoption, rather than terminate a cluster of cells at eight weeks. It’s also pure fucked up romanticism to wave ‘personal responsibility’ at those who get unintentionally pregnant or pregnant by someone totally unsuitable, or who suddenly are faced with an unknowable genetic lottery – we’re only human, of course we are occasionally irresponsible, and with serious things – that’s what’s normal. And shit happens to everybody. Trying to legislate as if that isn’t the case? Well I call bullshit on that. AND may I specify that if we start legislating on a woman’s right to do whatever with her body, where does that end? I was offered an abortion at 32 weeks (yes, I kid you not) because of something the obstetrician coldly noted on an ultrasound scan. Abortion is not now, and wasn’t for me, but I a hundred percent would like to legally enshrine a woman’s right not to take one night’s mistake and turn it into a lifetime’s. Your body, your DNA, your choice. Anything else is for god-squad, lifetime-movie-watching, finger wagging, gay-marriage-opposing ignoramuses. Just my opinion, though 🙂
Your body, your DNA, your choice
We’re in agreement. What bothers me is how some people use that argument to secure the liberty THEY want (say, the right to an abortion) but don’t feel so strongly about “your body, your choice” when it comes to other liberty issues such as prostitution, drugs or polygamy, all of which I’m in favor of legalization. And the contention with prostitution or polygamy that they are special cases because young people are sometimes the victims doesn’t hold water. If that were the case, we’d outlaw heterosexual sex.
Cakes and Shakes... said:
Shite. I had a whole response typed out and WordPress lost it. I’ll just say this – I’d never thought of applying my liberal views on abortion to polygamy, etc. Very thought-provoking!
Thank you for thinking about it. Personally, I’m not a fan of polygamy. But if it’s my business if I want to shack up with a dozen different ladies, why is it suddenly the public’s if I want to make honest women of them?
the issue of abortion must remain an issue of choice. a woman’s choice. her reasons, whatever they may be, have no bearing. of course sex can lead to pregnancy but regulating abortions by regulating sex is as impossible as it is unethical. legal, safe abortions are a human right. if humans were marsupial instead of placental mammals this whole issue would be silly; not that it isn’t a bit silly now. marsupials have a short gestation period and give birth to an embryo. the embryo crawls from the birth canal up to the nipple in the mother’s pouch where it matures. if this were the case with humans then a quick flick of the mother’s finger during this embryonic journey could send that little sucker flying across the room; perhaps hitting and sticking to the wall where it might slowly slide down behind the sofa to be vacuumed up in a week. the idea that an embryo is a legal person goes against all logic. if that undeveloped proto-person is unable to live without its mother then it is obviously NOT a person. and until it can live without its mother then whatever may happen to it is clearly the choice of its mother. period. paragraph. end of discussion.
and until it can live without its mother then whatever may happen to it is clearly the choice of its mother
The father has options, too. If the woman chooses to abort the child, the father can like it or lump it.
If she decides to keep the child, he can pay child support for 18 years or go to jail.
It’s all about choice in today’s society!