A real war on women

While every abortion is a tragedy and an injustice, there are at times very difficult circumstances that make such a decision, while still wrong, understandable. Hence the efforts, within our Church and the pro-life movement, to offer love and compassion — and life-affirming alternatives — to women whose painful situations too often lead them to see abortion as their only choice.

Such is not the case, however, with so-called “sex selection” abortions — in which babies in the womb are done away with simply because they are not the desired gender.

As political economist Nicholas Eberstadt detailed in his well-researched essay, “The Global War Against Baby Girls” (The New Atlantis, Fall 2011), this vile practice, most clearly evident in China, has become prevalent worldwide. And, as cited by the National Right to Life Committee, documented studies now give clear evidence that sex selection abortions are also happening here in the United States, particularly among certain cultural groups for whom “producing and raising male children” is considered “the most important role for women in the family.” (“Distortions of sex ratios at birth in the United States; evidence for prenatal gender selection,” March 2011 in Wiley Online Library, wileyonlinelibrary.com).

Compounding this unspeakable injustice is the realization that it is generally initiated, according to these and other studies, not by the “choice” of pregnant women, but by others — husbands, families, other influential members of these various cultures — who pressure, or even force, women to abort their female children.

Given that reality, one would expect “pro-choice” and “‘women’s rights” advocates to take the lead in opposing the practice of sex selection abortions. Instead, it was pro-life groups who last week spearheaded an effort to pass a congressional ban on the practice. Planned Parenthood opposed the legislation — incredibly telling members of Congress that they would consider a vote for this bill — prohibiting aborting female babies because they are female, AND preventing women from being coerced into such abortions — to be a vote against women’s health.

The House of Representatives, while voting 246-148 in favor of the bill, failed to provide the two-thirds majority needed to pass it within the “fast track” procedure that was utilized. Not that it would have ultimately mattered, because as Jake Tapper of ABC News revealed, the White House informed him that President Obama, whose signature would be needed for the bill to become law, also opposes it.

In doing so, Tapper reported, White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith claimed that “this legislation would … subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision.”

This is demonstrably false. The bill states, directly and unequivocally:

“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require that a health care provider has an affirmative duty to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion.”

The bill also protects the mother from any legal liability. Its sole targets would be those “health care providers” who abort a child when they have previous “knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought based on the sex or gender of the child.”

And so, while the Obama administration and its political and media supporters tout a politically trumped up “war on women,” they cannot bring themselves to oppose a real war on women — an actual killing war, in which women are pressured and coerced to destroy their female babies in the womb, precisely because they are female.