The use of abortion to choose the gender of a child has long been a concern of the pro-life movement, especially in countries like China or India where cultural and legal norms make both gender selection and abortion more acceptable. Â A new study is suggesting that some ethnic groups – specifically Chinese, Korean, and Indian – in the United States may also be using abortion to choose the gender of their children. William Saletan of Slate.com has a good writeup of the study and some implications.Â
However, the conclusion of the article is a bit confusing,Â
If you think of yourself as a techno-progressiveâ€”someone who believes, as Barack Obama does, that “maximizing the power of technology” will help fix everything fromÂ energyÂ to theenvironmentÂ toÂ health careâ€”the increase in sex selection should give you pause. Technology can facilitate regression as easily as it facilitates progress.
OK – I’m good with that. Â I thought that “technology=progress=unlimited good” went out with the Victorians, but that’s fine if people are just now waking up to reality. Â The rest of that paragraph is a bit odd.Â
But if you think of yourself as a pro-life conservative, the data should humble you, too. In the populations in which it has increased, sex selection isn’t a newfangled perversion. It’s a custom, and a patriarchal one at that. If the sex-selection story teaches us all to be a bit more skeptical of both tradition and technology, that’ll be real progress.
Eh? Â Perhaps some pro-life conservatives base their position of “patriarchal custom,” but I’m not aware of custom or patriarchy or tradition – much less Chinese, Korean, or Indian tradition – being used as a foundation for pro-life arguments in the United States. Â
This recent story – about a Vietnamese man who runs an orphanage for unwanted children next door to an abortion clinic in Vietnam – notes that he receives donations from “Christian and Buddhist organizations.” I have not encountered any Buddhist or Hindu approaches to abortion – either for or against – so I would be very interested in learning more about how non-Western religions regard abortion.Â