While the whole of the pro-life movement pushed hard in the days leading up to the vote on the bill to ban sex-selection abortions to rally behind around it, some Christian churches remained silent on the measure or, worse, took positions opposing it.
The church-related groups Methodist Federation for Social Action, Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Voices for Justice voiced their opposition to the sex-selection abortion ban. They were joined by a number of Jewish groups, including: Hadassah, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Jewish Women International, National Council of Jewish Women, Union for Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism, and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.
On the other hand, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act has received support from the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Roman Catholic groups including Priests for Life and Human Life International.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy is asking why so many church groups have been silent about the practice or took positions opposing it.
The 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church voted to “strongly condemn” sex-selective abortion “as a particularly lamentable and violent expression of sexism.” The denomination’s policy calls on “religious, government, and community leaders to proactively pursue humane means for stopping the practice of sex-selective abortion.” But the denomination’s liberal Capitol Hill lobby was silent, IRD noted.
“Churches should be among the first to stand up for vulnerable baby girls. All human life is intrinsically valuable,” IRD President Mark Tooley commented. “Years of research have revealed serious instability in societies with lopsided gender ratios. The devaluation of women results in increased sex trafficking and more frequent instances of sexual violence.”
“Consensus against gender selective abortion should be easy for churches. But where we should hear strong voices, there is mostly silence,” he added.
Many church groups are concerned about social justice issues and global problems ranging from hunger to lack of access to clean drinking water to the plight of those victimized by sex trafficking. Yet, sex-selection abortions are a global problem as well, Tooley notes.
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“Widespread sex-selective abortion has resulted in lopsided gender ratios in parts of China and especially India. Studies in India reveal that those families in higher income brackets and with greater access to education are the most likely to practice gender selective abortion,” he said.
Liberal religious groups often embrace the slogan, “Think Globally, Act Locally” but they failed to do so when it comes to protecting women from sex-selection abortion before they’re ever born.