Banning sex-selection is a good start for reducing prenatal discrimination, but can more be done?
Pressure to ban prenatal sex-selection has grown with rising sex ratios at birth in some countries. Governments feel pressured to act, and bans seem an immediate step they can take. However, such bans have been in place for some time in South Korea, China, and India, and the available evidence suggests they are difficult to implement and have limited impact. This is indicated most clearly in the Chinese census data, which displays the mixed effects of a very intensive effort to implement the ban.
Studies show that bans on sex-selection have negative consequences for unwanted girls and their mothers. By contrast, studies show that other policies — including mass messaging and measures to increase gender equity — show fairly quick impact in reducing son preference and increasing parental investment in girls. Such policies can permanently lower son preference and sex-selection, while also improving girls’ life chances.
Pressure to ban the use of modern technologies for sex-selection has grown in response to concern about rising sex ratios at birth in societies with a cultural preference for sons. Such bans have been in place for some time in countries such as China, South Korea and India, and countries in the South Caucasus and the Balkans, which have high sex ratios at birth, are under increasing pressure to impose such bans.
Governments feel the need to do something about sex-selection, and bans seem an immediate step they can take to address this especially egregious manifestation of gender discrimination.
In Australia, on 21 March 2013, on the recommendation of the Senate Selection of Bills Committee, the Senate referred the Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare Funding for Certain Types of Abortion) Bill 2013 (the Bill) to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 25 June 2013 on the following:
- The unacceptability to Australians of the use of Medicare funding for the purpose of gender selection abortions;
- The prevalence of gender selection — with preference for a male child — amongst some ethnic groups present in Australia and the recourse to Medicare-funded abortions to terminate female children;
- The use of Medicare-funded gender selection abortions for the purpose of ‘family-balancing’; and
- Support for campaigns by United Nations agencies to end the discriminatory practice of gender selection through implementing disincentives for gender selection abortions.
FamilyVoice Australia at that time submitted information from studies of Canadian and United States birth rates that indicated some evidence of gender-selective abortion occurring in some communities, including communities from India, China, Korea, and Vietnam.
However, bans may not be the most effective or humane way to reduce sex-selection. There is limited evidence that bans have much impact, and studies show that unwanted girls and their mothers are at increased risk of maltreatment in the household. By contrast, studies indicate that measures that seek to alter people’s norms are effective at enhancing gender equity, thereby reducing the demand for sex-selection.
Back in 2011, there was an interagency statement from OHCHR, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the WHO on preventing gender-biased sex selection, which highlighted the tradition of patrilineal inheritance in many societies, coupled with a reliance on boys to provide economic support, to ensure security in old age and to perform death rites, are part of a set of social norms that place greater value on sons than daughters.
As a result, women are often under immense family and societal pressure to produce sons. Failure to do so may lead to consequences that include violence, rejection by the marital family or even death. Women may have to continue becoming pregnant until a boy is born, thus putting their health and their life at risk.
Sex-selection can take place before a pregnancy is established, during pregnancy through prenatal sex detection and selective abortion, or following birth through infanticide or child neglect. Sex selection is sometimes used for family balancing purposes, but far more typically occurs because of a systematic preference for boys.
In 2020 under COVID, I became a grandfather to a wonderful granddaughter Daisy, so it breaks my heart and spiritual understanding as to why anyone would even consider female infanticide — the deliberate killing of girl babies.
This gender-selective killing or “gendercide” is indeed the ultimate in sexual discrimination.
So, where are the feminists, the BLM mob, the gender equality proponents, to name a few, in rallying to stop gender-selective killing? — their silence is deafening!
In 1990, Indian economist Amartya Sen published an article titled ‘More than 100 million women are missing’. It rang an alarm bell for the world about increasing SRBs (the sex ratio at birth which is the ratio of newborn baby boys to baby girls).
Sex selection is a problem arising from son preference and discrimination against girls from the early stages of their lives — compounded by new technologies that can determine fetal sex and facilitate abortion of female foetuses.
Let’s be candid: prenatal sex testing followed by sex-selective abortion represents a blatant form of discrimination — it is harmful and unethical, and for me as a Christian, unbiblical under any circumstance.
The Culture of Death
The pivotal theme linking many unresolved questions is whether concerns about prenatal sex selection can and should be separated from concerns about abortion, more generally, and other forms of parental discrimination against young daughters.
Our collective insights into these thorny issues have heretofore failed us, due to both powerful pro-choice political forces and secular preference for abortions, euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying (suicide) all in the name of so-called ‘progress’ from morally bankrupt left-wing advocates.
Abortion is not pro-life, so to allow it to flourish is not only morally and biblically wrong, but it also makes a mockery of ‘discrimination laws’, given abortion restrictions occur in some legislatures that target specific populations by banning abortion based on race selection — is there a contradiction here somewhere? Don’t all lives matter?
Abortion must be prohibited irrespective of race or sex (gender). If the self-proclaimed ‘progressives’ want to be truly consistent in promoting gender equity, then put an end to all abortion — particularly sex-selection abortion. Dum vita est, spes est: while there is life, there is hope.