Why Sex-Selective Abortion Threw Me For A Feminist Loop
This article was written in response to our previous editorial on sex-selective abortion.
I am pretty outspoken when it comes to making sure everyone keeps their personal morals out of their politics. We form our politics based on our morals, of course, but there’s a key difference: your morals (should) affect only you, while politics affect many. One of the things I’m most outspoken about is abortion. Anti-choice people don’t make any sense to me. I understand being against abortion, but I feel that it should be a personal choice. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean every pro-choice person is going around having abortions. Many morally oppose abortions, but are pro-choice because they believe that every person should be able to make that choice for themselves. And I am a very, very staunch pro-choice person.
But sex-selective abortion (also commonly referred to as gendercide, although I will not be using that term) threw me for a loop, initially. I’m a feminist. Sexism makes my skin crawl and my heart race. Sex-selective abortion is sexist… there’s really no getting around that. But I said I would always be pro-choice in every sitation. So I had to delve a little deeper and do a little research, and only then would I be able to decide how I feel about it.
I come from a place of ignorance on this subject. I live in the United States, where sex-selective abortion is not common at all. Sex is generally able to be determined at about 18-20 weeks into the pregnancy, a point in which only 3.8% of abortions actually occur. Suffice to say, I do not live in a culture where sex-selective abortion is common. The practice is more frequently seen in China, among other countries. I do not feel that it is my place to chime in on other cultures’ practices, even when they offend my beliefs and even when they’re problematic. Especially when I don’t actually know much about the cultures to begin with.
I don’t know if I see any positive outcomes of sex selection. It exists in a world that has always valued males over females which, as I said above, disgusts and offends me. How will it affect the future? The sex ratios in countries where sex selection is commonly practiced is growing farther and farther apart. All parents in China are not aborting female fetuses, but enough are to the point where male children are vastly outnumbering female children. How will future generations fare?
Nonetheless, I still have to somehow reconcile my morals with this. You may have read Abbey’s article, stating her belief that sex-selective abortion should be legislated against. But even though it pains me to think about it, I still can’t bring myself to say it should be illegal anywhere. I’m still a pro-choice person, and I’ve made a huge effort to not focus on why people are having abortions. I don’t feel like it is any of my business. That’s not to say that I don’t think the practice is problematic, because I certainly do. I do believe that we need to look at it with scrutiny and treat is as a serious issue. And I think strides could definitely be made to make it a less common practice. But I think other issues need to be attacked first in order to decrease the number of sex-selective abortions in the world. Cultures across the world value males over females, making this a deeply misogynous matter. Outlawing sex-selective abortion in countries where it is an acceptable practice will not change the fact that women are not valued in those countries. And we need to look at other potential factors for sex-selective abortions. Population control? China’s one-child policy makes it more or less necessary (with exceptions) to have an abortion if a couple finds themselves expecting a second child. A long-time cultural preference to have a son will not disappaear overnight.
The practice makes me feel ill and I hate the very thought of it but I don’t think making it illegal will have any effect on the misogyny that feeds the practice.
What are your thoughts? Do you think sex-selective abortion should be outlawed worldwide? Leave a comment and let us know.
May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013
May 22, 2013
May 22, 2013