By Steve K.
While patrolling the interwebs I stumbled upon this short article about a doctor who doesn’t want parents to know the gender of their baby until after 30 weeks into the pregnancy:
“Keep baby’s sex a secret to prevent gender-based abortions, doc says”
Dr. Rajendra Kale, a Canadian doctor originally from India, is concerned that parents who learn the gender of their baby early will use that to determine whether to have an abortion. (“Abortion” being a more clinical and less offensive word used in place of more realistic but less comfortable terms like “destroying the baby in the mother’s womb”)
(I’ll say right up front to those women who have had an abortion, especially those who have come to regret it, I’m not here to bash or rain down condemnation or sit in judgement and cast stones at anyone for past mistakes. I am expressing myself from a pro-life position as someone who used to be pro-abortion as a young man)
Dr. Kale says “The practice of “sex selection,” or the aborting of female fetuses because of a preference for sons, is an issue in several Asian countries, and may also be done by some immigrants in Canada and the United States.” Also, according to the article, “Two large organizations of doctors — the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — agree that sex selection is unethical.” Imagine that!
Let’s see if I have this straight: abortion in general is ethical, but gender-based abortions are “unethical”? Based on what? I’d very much like to hear them explain the meaning and origin of ethics and whether or not they believe ethics are objective, absolute, and universal – or if they think they’re subjective. If ethics are subjective then these people have to justify imposing their definition of ethics on everyone else. If ethics are objective then it has a source outside of an individual or a group of individuals. Ethics also assume that individuals have intrinsic worth. This is what makes the question of when life begins inescapably tied to the whole issue. People who think as these people do paint themselves into a corner when they say that certain abortions are “unethical”, because by even raising the objection they are unconsciously assuming that babies are persons with intrinsic value. The issues of ethics and morality can only be raised by a person about a person. If babies are not persons, then what is their objection based on? What if every baby were destroyed in the womb – a 100% abortion rate, and none of them was the result of gender-bias, would they say it’s ethical?
Of all the demographic statistics surrounding abortion, Kale selectively concerns herself with this one. Kale doesn’t seem to have a problem with baby girls being destroyed as long as their gender remains unknown. Why does this matter to her? One can’t help but wonder if she would display as much concern if the stats were reversed; what if more boys were destroyed because parents wanted daughters, would she complain as loudly? If left to blind chance and parents choose to destroy a baby of unknown gender, and during the process the gender is revealed to be a girl when it’s too late to change the decision, this would appear to be ethically acceptable to Dr. Kale. Is this really about numbers? If an equal number of boys were destroyed due to gender selection, would she have any basis for objecting to such decisions? Is she ok with girls being destroyed as long as they don’t total more than 50%? How about factors other than gender? Is she opposed to parents deciding to destroy a baby if it’s discovered that he is genetically predisposed to homosexuality? What about hair or eye color, or if the baby would be left-handed?
Doesn’t “Pro-Choice” mean, according to its advocates, that parents should have the right to choose? How odd that a doctor who is not opposed to abortion in general would impose a restriction on parent’s choices. If it was up to her, would she force a mother to give birth to her baby girl so as to even-out the numbers? Unless this is her goal, then to what end or for what purpose is she demanding parents remain in the dark for 30 weeks? She’s opposed to destroying girls before 30 weeks but not after? Is she against late-term abortions? If so, is she against them in general, or just for girls? If this is not intended to influence the parent’s decision in favor of life, then what’s the point? Isn’t abortion still allowed past 30 weeks?
By 28 weeks, she has lungs that are capable of breathing air, although medical help may be needed. She can open and close her eyes, suck her thumb, cry and respond to sound. She has an 88% chance of survival with appropriate high risk newborn care.
30 weeks is an arbitrary number anyway. What difference does it really make? Pro-Life argues that since life begins at conception then destroying a child is wrong no matter when it’s done during the pregnancy. Pro-Abortion argues that since they do not think life begins, or at least life doesn’t matter, until birth, then destroying a child is ok no matter when it’s done, right up to and including partial birth. But others believe that it’s ok to a certain point in the child’s development, but after that it is wrong and should not be done. So Dr. Kale believes it’s wrong to kill a girl for reasons of gender when she is less developed, but it’s ok to kill her for the same reason after she’s more developed at 30 weeks? What’s so magical and enchanting about the 30th week that turns what was once unethical into something ethical? What magic wand makes this happen?
It’s odd that a pro-abortionist, a person who believes that a child in the womb has no value or any right to life, now places conditional and temporary value in unborn babies – as long as they are not males or older than 30 weeks. It would seem that this new found value vaporizes once the ratio of destroyed female babies is exactly even with destroyed male babies.
What makes Dr. Kale think that when people are free to choose to destroy babies that somehow the proportion of abortions should fall neatly along demographic lines? How realistic is this expectation? And she needs to justify why numbers matter in the first place as well as justify why it would be ethical to impose measures that would result in an artificial and human-made outcome just so she can say “There – everything’s even now!”
So now we see the result of people exercising their freedom to choose: gender, racial, religious, and economic inequality – a disparity in abortions. And yet Dr. Kale would like to selectively regulate abortion; that is, she wants to be the one to choose who should live or die instead of leaving it up to the mother. But, again, if babies are not human beings, why should such inequality matter? G.K. Chesterton made this observation about the nature of human equality: “The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man.”
That which gives real and objective meaning to concepts like ethics is also that which makes killing the innocent in the womb (in the absence of exigent circumstances) objectively unethical.