06 December 2012

CC08 - Sex Selective Abortion

A Tool of Gendercide?

Recently, Mark Warawa, a backbencher of the governing Conservative Party of Canada, put forth a private member's bill in the House of Commons (M-408) asking the House to condemn sex-selective abortions.  Sex selective abortions, for the uninformed, is the act of terminating a pregnancy for no reason other than the sex of the fetus.

The rhetoric that is being used to support this motion is the idea that female fetuses are the primary target of sex selective abortion, and thus, as part of our society's focus on eliminating violence against women (since women are, apparently, the only members of society who should be exempt from violence), this should include the defense of female fetuses from the sexual violence of sex selective abortion.

Now, I will accept that there can be a cultural impetus for male preference when it comes to children, particularly in China and India, but I do not accept that this is a wildly practiced act in western countries and cultures.

However, as to be expected, the Opposition parties, the NDP and the Liberals, are slamming the motion as a 'back door attempt to reopen the abortion debate."

Now, there are two sides to this debate, and from where I'm standing, both sides are heavy on ideological rhetoric, short on reason, and seem to be missing a major point.

On the right, we have the Conservative back bencher who is advocating for the prohibition of sex selective abortion.  The justification being that sex selective abortion is used to discriminate against female fetuses and is, therefore, a kind of 'violence against women', something liberal western democracies seem rabid about preventing.

Now, there seems to be two schools of thought about this proposition, the first being that the motion is genuine, and is a sincere attempt to help prevent sexual discrimination against females.

This is something I must challenge, as I think the case has been made time and time again that the whole idea of preventing 'violence against women' or 'sexual discrimination against women' is inherently sexist and discriminatory by the very nature of the intent.  It can be argued and reasonably demonstrated that by advocating against "violence against women" or "sexual discrimination against women" one isn't interested in preventing violence or sexual discrimination in and of themselves, but instead ensuring that only men are the victims.  These positions are explicitly pro-female, and implicitly in support of violence and discrimination against males.

The second school of though about the back bencher's motion is that this is a sneaky attempt to get the foot in the door with banning abortion, and that using the "protect teh wimminz" hysteria as justification is simply a way to use emotion to blind people against the encroaching tyranny.

Again, I don't think this is a rational assumption either.  The idea that the government is just aching to stick its fingers into everyone's pregnancies and will use any means necessary to do so is hyperbolic and ridiculous.  The House isn't half filled with Snidely Whiplashes with dastardly plans.

I think it far more likely that the truth is somewhere in the middle, that abortion is seen by some on the right as a violation of a fetus' right to life and that sex selective abortion just adds bigotry into the mix.  Murder is bad enough, they seem to think, but sexual discrimination AND murder...that's a hate crime.

On the left, though, we have near unanimous opposition to the motion.  The opposition is based less on the principles involve, I think, than it is on simply political wrangling.  After all, the NDP wouldn't be a good opposition party if they ever agreed with the Government.

One group that is oddly opposed to the motion, though, are feminists, and this is where I think it gets really interesting.  One would think that they'd jump at the chance to support a motion that apparently is motivated by preventing violence against women, but they claim that the right of the woman to choose is absolute, even if it means that those women are choosing to sexually discriminate against female fetuses.  This ignores the whole issue of how choosing whether to have an abortion or not is a right that only women have, which inherently makes it sexually discriminatory, particularly when it's held to be 'absolute'.  I would go more indepth about that avenue of thought, though, but I don't think it's completely relevant to this issue.

A more sinister interpretation of the feminist position, though, isn't that sex selective abortion is abhorrent to them, and that they have to hold their nose when accepting it in order to support a woman's right to choose for herself.  Instead, consider that there are feminists (a quick browse through Radfemhub can easily support this point) who advocate for the eugenic cleansing of males from the populace, and the whole idea of sex selective abortion makes them giddy with glee.  If they cannot legislate a ban on male children overtly, then perhaps they can simply abort males into extinction.  Feminists who advocate for aborting male fetuses simply because they're male would be unable to do so if sex selective abortion was prohibited.  Sex selective abortion can be used as a tool for 'gender-cide', as Mark Warawa contends, but he seems to miss the point that male fetuses can (and presumably are) be aborted simply because they're male.

China and India may have a cultural bias against female children, but western society has a demonstrable ideological bias against males, and I think the concern over sex selective abortion being used as a tool to kill off female children misses half the problem.

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