I wrote recently on this blog regarding the connection between religious chauvinism and sex-selective abortion, using reactionary Hinduism as an example.
Sadly, this phenomenon extends to the Muslim world as well. Extremist Islamic subcultures devalue women, and sometimes this devaluation is accomplished under the guise of policies that would ostensibly appear benign to a Western feminist.
This phenomenon is illustrated well in Great Britain, which has both significant immigration and few abortion restrictions. National Review reports:
Though a government investigation in 2013 determined that girls were not being targeted for abortions, the Independent‘s investigation found that some ethnic communities in Britain did not have the natural balance between males and females, and that the abortion of somewhere between 1,400 and 4,700 female fetuses best accounts for that imbalance.
The Independent reviewed the census statistics — particularly statistics of immigrant families, such as those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan — finding that in two-child families, having a girl as the first child significantly increased the chances of having a male as the second child. When these immigrant couples already have a daughter as their first child, in other words, they sometimes abort girls to ensure the second will be a boy.
This feeds into the chauvinistic and deeply misogynistic views held by adherents of radical Islam, views that create a degrading environment in which women struggle to survive, let alone thrive. Criticism of this is often blunted due to fears of being deemed a racist or Islamaphobe. The latter term, while accurately applied to those who indiscriminately foment hate against peaceful Muslim groups, is unfortunately also used to quell legitimate criticism of undesirable aspects of a religion, even when those aspects produce deplorable outcomes.
In his book “Why I am Not a Muslim” (which is a play on Bertrand Russell’s famous “Why I Am Not a Christian”), Pakistani atheist Ibn Warraq says the following:
Indeed a large part of the blame lies with the attitudes inculcated by Islam, which has always seen woman as inferior to man. The birth of a baby girl is the occasion for mourning. Hundreds of baby girls are abandoned every year in the gutters and dust bins and on the pavements. An organization working in Karachi to save these children has calculated that more than five hundred children are abandoned a year in Karachi alone, and that 99 percent of them are girls.
Sex-selection abortions in the West, the Muslim world, and elsewhere of course take place for a multiplicity of reasons. But we discount the enormous clout of patriarchal norms, and their success in generating hatred towards females, at our own peril. These questions should be debated forthrightly, without the obscurantist cliché of pro-lifers being invariably god-fearing. If the previous examples have showed anything, it is that abortion is far more than merely a hedonistic example of supposedly decadent Western culture.
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LifeNews Note: Roger McCormack writes for Secular Pro-Life.