NRL News

Falling off abortion’s “Tightrope”

by | Jan 27, 2012

By Dave Andrusko 

Mara Hvistendahl

I’m finishing the week with a truly fascinating example of what happens when a movement supposedly grounded in respect for women runs headfirst into the truth that millions of baby girls are “missing,” the direct consequence of sex-selective abortions, also known as female gendercide.

Kathryn Blaze Carlson, writing in the National Post, a Canadian newspaper, titles her piece “Abortion’s Tightrope.” She uses as her jumping off point journalist Mara Hvistendahl whose book, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” created a torrent of debate over the unbridled use of ultrasound to target female babies for destruction in Asia but also in certain ethnic communities in Canada and, perhaps, the United States.

We’ve written four or five times about the book, each time prompted by Hvistendahl trying out a new way of pretending to escape the corner into she has painted herself. She is “pro-choice,” she told Carlson, but not necessarily when it comes to the “right” to know the baby’s sex. Carlson paraphrases Hvistendahl’s position as, “A woman should have the choice of whether or not to abort, but not to know all the details about it.”

In her own word, Hvistendahl says, “There’s no real need to know the [sex], and that could be an effective way to fight sex-selective abortion,” adding “You can believe in a right but still believe it has limits.”

But Hvistendahl opposes every measure that would stop gendercide, a failing common to “pro-choicers” who forever prattle on abortion “limitations”: they can’t find any limitations.

What makes Carlson’s story so interesting is that she quotes from intra-pro-abortion circle squabbles over sex-selective abortions which are as intense as they (often) are self-contradictory. Give those crazy anti-choicers an inch (save babies because they are female), and they’ll take a mile (save all babies because it is discriminatory to save only females—talk about being hoisted on your own petard).

Yesterday we ran a column on this subject by Margaret Somerville, which I found compelling. She explains why abortion supporters are so unnerved by gendercide.

“Pro-choice advocates have long proposed that whether women can have unfettered access to abortion should be the litmus test of whether a society has respect for women and their rights. They argue this access is required to protect women’s rights to autonomy and self determination – and to protect their dignity. Ironically, however, sex-selection abortion is overwhelmingly the expression of a lack of respect for women in cultures in which sons are highly valued and daughters are massively devalued.

“Sex-selection abortion also shifts the analytic, ethical and legal spotlight from the pregnant woman (who is the basis of the pro-choice case), to the unwanted fetus (which is normally ignored in the pro-choice analysis). This is because in sex selection, unlike probably most other abortions, the woman wants a baby – just not a girl. As a result of this focus on the fetus, we see abortion in a different ethical and legal light.”

Take five minutes out and read Abortion’s Tightrope” ( You’ll come away realizing it is only a matter of time before the pro-abortionist’s arguments fall to the ground.

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