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Wrongheaded Thinking Regarding Sex Selection Abortions

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Many people who detest the practice of direct abortion on demand have expressed a different kind of outrage recently when a bill known as The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act failed to pass in the US House of Representatives on May 31st.

This particular outrage is based on the notion that people should not choose to have an abortion based on the sex of a particular child.  Of course this begs the question: why does this matter?

Any reason for direct abortion is bogus and discriminatory against the unborn, but since direct abortion is permitted by law, why the outrage over choosing to have an abortion based on the sex of the child?  Is it really more heinous to choose to have such an abortion?  Is it a “first-plus” degree of murder?  Does this also mean that if abortion is selected without basing it upon the sex of the child, that it is a less heinous offense against the unborn?  How so?

Moreover, does anybody really believe that if such a ban is ever approved, people who want to have an abortion based upon the sex of the child won’t come up with some other flawed reason for it?  Would it really cut back on the number of abortions as other less-than-perfect laws against abortion seek to accomplish?

Then again, if such a ban ever becomes the law, this would be the official legal position so that abortions based on sex selection would be considered “discriminatory,” while abortions for other reasons would benefit from not being considered “discriminatory” since they weren’t based on sex selection.  At best, this would be somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory for the pro-life side in its advocacy of “no abortions based on the sex of the child.”  Too many people accept the law as their moral guides, so do we want yet another law that implicitly supports abortion so long as it is not based on sex-selection?  I certainly don’t.

I am also somewhat bemused by seeing such staunch pro-life advocates like Representative Chris Smith lamenting the defeat of the bill in the house, and falling for the “quasi-politically correct” argument that this kind of an abortion is actually “worse than others” because of the particular form of discrimination it entails.

Perhaps we could call them “hate abortions.”

Echoing the sentiments of Representative Smith is Representative Trent Franks, who said that “sex selection is violence against women, and it is the truest kind of war against women.”  He goes on to say that it is an act of “extreme violence” to have an abortion solely “based on the sex of the child.”  Great.  Does this mean that it is not violence against women nor an act of extreme violence to have an abortion if the abortion is not based on the sex of the child?

What is going on here?

This kind of flawed approach is frequently a problem whenever pro-life advocates take up side issues in the abortion debate in an attempt to reduce overall abortions.  The motivations are fine and admirable, but they must be supported by stronger arguments thought about with greater wisdom in order to really help the pro-life cause.

Of course, supporting and voting for imperfect legislation is moral and acceptable under circumstances where the best legislation cannot be passed, but I do not believe that is what’s involved here despite some good intentions.  In fact, emphasizing the idea that there’s something more outrageous in a sex selection abortion over any other kind is foolhardy, and as previously mentioned, it could even play into a pro-abortion viewpoint that might eventually concede the side point while strengthening their primary advocacy for abortions in general.

I also do not understand other comments along the lines of claiming hypocrisy in the abortion movement by attaching this particular form of discrimination to it.  If a direct abortion is chosen for any reason, the ultimate discrimination against the unborn child is committed.   

I am also aware of the motivation to try to prevent abortion providers from offering sex selection abortion services, and there is some merit in this, but once again, I don’t see how this would be effective in the future if such a ban became law.

Wiser arguments against all direct abortions should always focus on the humanity of the unborn child without expressing extra outrage that somehow an abortion based on sex selection is any more outrageous than any other direct abortion.  It is wrongheaded to provide that kind of ammunition to the pro-abortion point of view that could easily open a door to the following claim that could wrongly influence too many people:

“Okay.  We now agree that abortions based on sex selection are discriminatory, so stop complaining when we want abortions if sex selection is not involved, because no discrimination is taking place.”

Except the ultimate discrimination against the unborn would continue as the wisest arguments against it are placed on the back burner.



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