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Banning Sex-Selective Abortions: “Sending a signal about what society thinks is okay” and not okay

by | Nov 1, 2011

Pro-Life Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

By Dave Andrusko

  What do pro-life Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s very successful first two years in office and the possible introduction of a bill in the Commonwealth to ban abortions based on the baby’s sex have in common? Well (a) they are examples of what a difference it makes to have pro-lifers in office; (b) they are both popular; and (c) it requires panicky hit-pieces by the reliably pro-abortion Washington Post.
   The two articles –“Va. elections could redefine McDonnell’s image” (which is an editorial) and a news story, “Va. candidate says he’ll push to ban sex-selective abortion” —both are “what-if” pieces. What if Republicans, who currently occupy the governor’s mansion and hold a majority of the House of Delegates—assume control of the Senate as well in elections next month?
   According to the Post, on our issues McDonnell would likely fold like a cheap suitcase. As always, pro-abortion publications believe pro-life politicians rarely, if ever, have the courage of their convictions. So if those “radical, right-wing Republicans” control all the levers of government, they’ll go crazy and McDonnell will either channel his inner “moderate” or face the wrath of an angry electorate. (Oh, by the way, there is a lot of talk about McDonnell as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2012.) The truth is, pro-lifers in Virginia have great confidence in McDonnell.
   Which leads us to the story about a gentleman running for the House of Delegates who says he would introduce a bill to ban sex-selective abortions. Now, if it’s true, that such legislation is already in place in four states and that “Polling data suggest such a ban would be popular. A 2006 Zogby/Associated Television News poll found that 86 percent of Americans think it should be illegal to abort a fetus on the basis of its sex,” why the need to assure us that such laws are unnecessary?
 The first reason is always the first reason: pro-abortionists know that the more laws get passed, the likelier the state is to pass more protective legislation and (worse, to pro-abortionists) spread pro-life legislation, like a contagion, to other states.
   But at a more fundamental level it puts them in a real bind. “It is an interesting proposal, for it confounds the usual left-right divide on this matter,” James Davison Hunter, professor of religion, culture and social theory at the University of Virginia, told the Post. “When people do use it [abortion] this way, I gather it is usually to favor male children. The proposal thus presents the challenge to feminists and other progressives to oppose it.” Challenge, indeed.
   So having said they “do not condone sex-selection abortions,” but banning them?! Well, that’s another story. We’re told they are rare; are confined to immigrants from nations where this is common practice; it’s unenforceable, etc., etc., etc.
  But to be fair the article does offer a counterbalance and an explanation why such laws are important.
    A 2008 study documented that sex-selective abortions DO happen in the Unite States, eliminating “unwanted daughters.” Published in the National Academy of Sciences, the study “inferred that from birth data indicating that, after one or two daughters, the probability that the next child would be a boy was unnaturally high,” according to the Post’s Laura Vozzella.
   What about the numbers? What if the number of sex-selective abortions for now at least, is not high?
   Lena Edlund, a Columbia University economist who involved in the 2008 study, “thinks a symbolic gesture would be worthwhile, according to Vozella.
    “Abortion based on the child’s gender is considered anathema to most Westerners,” Edlund said. “We have not had to really enunciate this because it’s been shared as a core value. We are now in a situation [because of immigration] where it’s not a shared value. . . . It’s not so much whether this can be enforced. I think this is about sending a signal about what society thinks is okay.”
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