The definition of social decay is when you have to restate blindingly obvious moral truths because too many people have forgotten them. Here’s one: you shouldn’t abort a baby just because it’s a girl. Or a boy. I really shouldn’t have to explain why, but here goes…
Fiona Bruce MP is trying to get her Abortion (Sex Selection) Bill passed through Parliament in the form of an amendment – and you can read all about her proposal at stopgendercide.org. It’s more an effort to clarify the law than to rewrite it, but it’s still greatly needed. There are studies that imply sex-selective abortion occurs, they’re backed up by independent witnesses, and The Daily Telegraph ran an investigation that revealed doctors allegedly consenting to terminations on the grounds of gender.
Very, very few people think that sex-selective abortion should be legal. At an early hearing of Bruce’s Bill, 181 MPs voted for it and only one opposed it (Glenda Jackson). Obviously pro-lifers hate gendercide, but so, too, do a significant number of feminists. Why? First, because permitting the gendered abortion of female foetuses implies some tolerance of the notion that girls are worth less than boys. We wouldn’t accept discrimination in the workplace, the classroom or even the army – so why the womb?
Second, gendercide generally goes hand-in-hand with a wider cultural prevalence towards forced abortions. True, some of the women who might reject a female foetus would do so for lifestyle/aesthetic reasons (ie “I’ve already got two girls and I want a boy”). But the vast majority of cases likely arise from cultures in which women have little control over their own bodies and their husbands/families might compel them to seek a termination. There is good evidence of gendercide taking place within Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi and Afghan immigrant communities right here in the UK. It might seem paradoxical, but outlawing sex-selective abortion arguably gives women from disadvantaged backgrounds far greater reproductive freedom.
Opposition to a ban would have to originate from the premises that a) abortion should in all circumstances be legal and the decision free from literally any social stigma and that b) the provider should not show any interest in the motives of their patient. Such a point of view would give abortion a unique status: a medical procedure wherein the doctor offers no consultation or opinion whatsoever. Given the complex physical and psychological dimensions to abortion, that opinion is either naïve or wicked. It leaves women to undergo the procedure without genuine emotional support and uncertain of the alternative options. Moreover, it risks putting abused women at the mercy of their partners or families.
Whatever way one looks at it, there is absolutely no justification for not backing Bruce’s bill and no justification for the Government’s current lack of support. Its best hope comes from individual MPs fighting for its passage. So pick up your phone and start calling them: let’s make the switchboards glow.