Sex-Selection Abortions Devalue Women, But Feminists Silent

International   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Oct 13, 2011   |   10:15AM   |   Washington, DC

Asia has a big problem.  According to some reports 163 million Asian women are “missing.”  Actually, they are not missing.  We know what happened to them.  They have been killed in the womb simply because they are girls.

Asian cultures have always had a preference for boys and female infanticide has been reported for many years.  But not until abortion was made legal and ultrasounds commonplace did Asian women begin to disappear in the millions.

The natural sex ratio is 103-106 boys to 100 girls.  Anything more than 106 boys to 100 girls is unnatural and will produce a male-heavy society. The Economist reported that in 1985 to 1989 the ratio of boys to girls in China was 108.  From 2000-2004, the sex ratio jumped to 124 boys for every 100 girls.  Today in India, where they measure sex ratios by comparing the number of females to 1000 males the ratio is as low as 830 girls to 1000 boys.. Normal ratios would be 952 girls per 1000 boys.

Sex selective abortion is the culprit.  Far from liberating women, it is killing millions of girls and magnifying the prejudice and mistreatment of the girls that do make it out of the womb.  And as women become more scarce, their value rises which some have suggested means that women will be treated better.  But exactly opposite is true.  Women have become commodities to be bought and sold.  Parents all over Asia are guarding their girls against kidnappers who would sell them to rich families who want to guarantee a future bride for their son.  Women are routinely kidnapped and dragged across boundary lines to be forced into the sex industry.  Poor families, who could not afford sex selective procedures are selling their daughters to rich families who could.  Sex selective abortion ensures that women are born only to poor families who cannot afford sex selection and then those women are treated as commodities.

In an interview with TrustLaw, gender expert Tanushree Soni from Plan International reports that sex selective abortion is having devastating consequences for women.  Soni told TrustLaw:

“There are 60 million girls who have been aborted and missing in Asia which has created gender imbalance and other serious problems,” Soni, Plan’s regional gender programme specialist, told TrustLaw in a phone interview from India.

“An imbalance of sexes fuels human trafficking and sexual exploitation,” she said. “It endangers economic development and increases social instability as a growing population of men search for partners.”

Worse, she said, “When you see very highly skewed ratios of sex, it’s very likely you’ll get a high prevalence of violence against women and girls.”

Soni goes on to point out that this is not a problem with poverty since only well-to-do families can afford the ultrasounds.  Instead it is a deeper problem exacerbated by the abortion of millions of girls:

“The thing is girls are not valued, they are not given their due and because of a high rate of gender-based violence happening in the world, parents feel a girl child needs much more protection and does not see them as empowered,” she said.

India has tried to remedy this egregious situation.  First they made sex selection abortion illegal.  Then in 2002 they made the simple act of finding out the sex of a fetus illegal.  The preference for boys is so strong that parents are finding ways around the law.  None of the laws against sex selection has helped.  Now India is resorting to giving out cash to increase the number of girls born.  >From The Christian Science Monitor:

Not long ago, Mullahera, a village on what was then the outskirts of New Delhi, was the kind of place where families wanted a boy. Their reasoning was simple: A boy could inherit farmland, work the fields, and provide space in his future home for elderly parents.

But in January, local officials came to Mullahera – now nestled alongside the glass towers of the ever-expanding city – to present residents with a significant gift: a check for 100,000 rupees, or $2,200, for producing more girl than boy births.

With selective abortion of girls in India worse than ever, the state of Haryana – which has one of the worst birth ratios – has started to reward the village in each district that is defying the odds.

So now India is paying to save their girls.  In reality there is only one thing that can stop sex selective abortions.  It is not paying people to keep their girls or limiting access to potentially valuable prenatal care like ultrasounds.  It is stopping abortion all together.  That is the only way to make sure that girls, and boys alike, do not go “missing.”

One may ask where are the feminists in the face of this disastrous practice that marginalizes all women?  Where are the champions of women and their reproductive rights?  They are mostly silent.  They championed choice and now that choice is being used to kill millions of female fetuses and subjugate women, they have nothing to say lest the sacred abortion cow be slaughtered.  Pro-abortion writer Mara Hvistendahl understands that the pro-abortion feminists are abandoning their Asian counterparts in the name of “choice.”  She boldly declares in her book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men:

In a world in which women are unnaturally scare, the right to abort will be the least of our worries.

Feminists all over the world must realize that abortion is far from the liberator of women that some say that it is.  Abortion is the greatest deliberate killer of women in the world today.  And it further degrades the value of women who do survive the womb.  The sooner the women of the world wake up, the better all of our lives will be. Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).