Pro-choice philosophy inconsistent with outrage towards sex-selective abortion

Dr. Rajendra Kale, temporarily editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, recently wrote an editorial in which he lamented that Asian communities in Canada seek sex-selective abortion. To combat this, Dr. Kale insisted that doctors not reveal the sex of an unborn child until at least 30 weeks gestation, at which point it is quite difficult to get an abortion.

Since abortion is completely legal in Canada, even if the baby still has a toe in her mother’s birth canal, she can have her life “terminated.” Dr. Kale notes that there is a good reason to be opposed to sex-selective abortion since those who procure them regard men as more valuable than women. Most people know this, which is why two different polls, by Angus Reid and Environics, have shown that most Canadians want laws against it.

Yet those who are ideologically committed to keeping abortion legal have found themselves in conflict with one another since they so strongly support abortion-on-demand that many of them cannot fathom bringing a law into place that will oppose a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Some left-wing feminists, like Mara Hvistendahl, see sex-selective abortion as being an injustice against women warranting restrictions on abortions in such instances. Others, like the so-called Women’s Federation of Quebec, find the practice deplorable but do not believe in legally protecting unborn girls. If abortions do not kill human beings unjustly when done for reasons of finance, the manner in which they were conceived or out of sheer convenience, then what is so wrong about killing a baby for being a girl?

If abortion does not kill a person, and should be legal in all other instances, there is no good reason to make an exception when the unborn child (not recognized by the law as a person with rights) is killed for being a girl.

If one does not acknowledge anything wrong with abortion itself, it is usually due to a lack of belief that the unborn child deserves the kind of moral consideration that an adult deserves. If that is the case then it seems to be quite a small matter indeed that the abortion is committed on sexist grounds.

To say that the sexism provides grounds for stopping such abortions does not make sense under the pro-choice philosophy since no person worth moral consideration is being discriminated against. The only thing that is being opposed is sexism as an attitude, yet one cannot legislate against the attitudes of people.

Furthermore, why not be concerned about other instances of discriminatory abortions. In the United States, approximately 80 per cent of children discovered to have Down syndrome among the 70 per cent of women who are tested (more often above the age of 35), are aborted yet I have not heard of many pro-choice people being disturbed by this.

No pro-choicer can account for why abortion should be legal in all cases, including targeting Down syndrome babies, with an exception being made for sex-selective abortion.

A pro-life philosophy does provide a consistent philosophy explaining why sex-selective abortion is wrong.

If all human beings from the point of conception have dignity, and abortion kills such an innocent human being, then it is wrong in all cases (this does not include cases in which treatments like chemotherapy for a pregnant woman with cancer accidentally kill the child).

If you are truly troubled by sex-selective abortion, and want to see this injustice eliminated, then the most rational approach is embracing a consistent philosophy that can account for why abortion in such an instance is wrong. This philosophy resides in the pro-life camp, not the one that denies that the unborn child deserves moral consideration.

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