The pro-choice genocide of baby girls, The Anchor, January 20, 2012

Fr. Roger J. Landry
The Anchor
January 20, 2012

On Sunday, we mark the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that with its companion Doe v. Bolton made abortion legal in the United States for all nine months of pregnancy. These revolutionary decisions have since been celebrated by radical feminist groups as a milestone advance in the cause of women’s freedom and rights, not just in the United States but internationally. The decisions, they argued, gave women control over their destiny by giving them control over their bodies and whatever was in their bodies. They saved women’s lives, they maintained, by preventing deaths in the ubiquitous “back alleys” by coat-hanger-wielding pseudo-doctors. The euphemisms they employed tried to claim that what was growing in them wasn’t human life: at worst, the “fetus” was akin to a parasite or a wart; at most it was merely “potential” human life. The whole moniker of “freedom of choice” always scrupulously avoided mentioning a direct object to specify and morally qualify what one was actually choosing.

Over the course of the last four decades, however, the various pro-choice mendacities, exaggerations and euphemisms have all been exposed. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, once one of the most notorious abortion doctors in the country before his conversion from the grisly practice and to Catholicism, testified how wildly the pro-choice movement inflated and outright invented claims of maternal deaths in botched back alley abortions. “Jane Roe” herself, whose real name is Norma McCorvey, testified that her whole case was based on the lie that she had been raped and couldn’t receive an abortion. Advances in embryology and in technology have made abundantly clear that what grows within a woman is clearly a human being at the very stages of existence all adult human beings have traversed. And as the discipline of demography has gotten more advanced and the pro-choice mentality has metastasized, the direct object of the “freedom of choice” has become increasingly apparent. Not only has it been exposed that the choice of abortion is the decision to end the life of a developing human being, but in increasing numbers across the globe, the choice has resulted in a disproportionate slaughter of baby girls.

In 2008, Mara Hvistendahl published “Unnatural Selection,” a monumental work that documents global sex-selection and the consequences that will likely come to the world from what she calls the international deficit of 160 million girls who have gone “missing,” because they have been preferentially chosen for death through abortion. Hvistendahl and others after her, especially Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, have documented the disparities in the SRB (sex ratio at birth) in various countries. Naturally and historically, the SRB has shown that on average 102-106 boys are born per every 100 girls; because boys are greater risk-takers and experience higher rates of mortality, eventually the ratio of men and women level off in later years.

Since the rise of legal access to abortion, however, not to mention forced abortion policies in places like China, the SRB has risen in many countries well past the natural upper limits. In China the SRB for first-born children is 120; for second children, in those places where a second child is “allowed” (because the first child was a girl), the SRB is 143; and in those rare provinces where a third child is permitted, the SRB is 156. In Beijing, the sex-ratio for third children is a stratospheric 275. Unnatural SRBs are found in 20 other countries, notably India (112), Armenia (116), Azerbaijan (116), Georgian (113) and well as in European nations of Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain. These elevated rates are not happening by chance. Eberstadt details three factors: a strong preference for sons; the use of prenatal sex-determination technology from ultrasounds to newly-developed blood tests; and a push for smaller families. All three lead parents to carry out sex-selective feticide of baby girls.

Hvistendahl’s book examines the history of this international femicide. She documents that it came about through western, and particularly American, population control policies effectuated in particular by the money and research of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the US Agency for International Development. Her analysis has particular credibility because she doesn’t conceal her support for legal abortion. In the early years of the international population control mania in the 1960s, westerners recognized that their efforts to limit family size were failing because families in developing societies would continue to have children until a baby boy was born. The Population Control protagonists began to admit publicly that the only way that their efforts would succeed would be to come up with a way to ensure that first-born children were males. Sex-identification of developing children in the womb through inexpensive obstetric ultrasonography and the subsequent abortion of girls soon became the preferred method.

Sex-selection abortions are not merely occurring overseas but also here in the United States. In early December, Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona introduced a bill called the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would prohibit doctors from performing abortions based on the sex or race of the fetus. He chose Anthony, he said, because in the U.S., as elsewhere, when abortion happens for reasons of sex-selection, girls are disproportionately the victims; and Douglass because even though blacks account for only 13 percent of the population, they account for 35 percent of abortion body-count. PRENDA is therefore a civil rights bill on both scores. One might have anticipated that groups that claim to support the cause of women would want to stop practices in which the youngest women of all are chosen for slaughter in a gender-reverse of the Holy Innocents of ancient Bethlehem. Instead, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America called PRENDA “nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to block access to abortion.” Another coalition of 24 pro-choice women’s groups likewise opposed the bill, saying in a letter to Congress, “While this bill purports to support gender equity and civil rights, it does neither. … This bill is an attack on our right to self-determine whether and when to have children, and we refuse to allow race and gender to be wielded as a weapon to undermine abortion rights.” Access to abortion must be protected, they insist, even if abortion is used preferentially to kill those they purport to represent.

Surgical abortion is, sadly, not the only way this global war against baby girls is taking place. An increasingly popular means in the West — one that shows the perverted extent toward which the “pro-choice” mentality of “reproductive freedom” extends — is through the process of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). A child is manufactured in-vitro and allowed to develop to the eight-cell stage. Then one of the cells is tested to determine whether it’s a boy or a girl. If the child has the preferred gender — for most couples, a boy —it is implanted. If it doesn’t, the embryo is generally destroyed. Many of the couples having access to this high tech IVF-PGD process are fertile couples desirous of taking their “right to choose” to the extreme of even selecting hair color, eye color, height and other traits. Various countries have banned the use of PGD for sex-selection purposes, but not the United States, which has aptly been called the “wild west of reproductive technology.” Fertility clinics across the world send samples for PGD analysis to be done, and embryos eliminated, to bypass eugenic legislation in their home countries. Rich couples from other countries desiring boys fly here to places like the Fertility Institutes in Los Angeles, which proudly advertises itself as a “Leading World Center for 100 percent PGD Selection,” emphasizing, “If you want to be certain that your next child will be the gender you’re hoping for, be aware that no other method comes close to the reliability of PGD.”

Pro-Lifers have long described the many ways the pro-choice movement hurts individual women as well as the cause of women overall. It’s now becoming clear that the pro-choice mentality is disproportionately snuffing out the future of hundreds of million of women more than the carnage of men, creating a global disparity in sex ratio that leads sober analysts to predict that the surplus of unmarried males in sexually unbalanced societies will hurt women in various other ways: through augmenting the demand for prostitution, kidnapping and female trafficking. When are those who claim to speak for the good of women going to recognize that abortion is bad for women, bad for baby girls, and bad for all of society?