Feature

Using abortion to get rid of girls

According to a recent National Academy of Sciences report, some parents are using sex-selection techniques&mdash;including abortion&mdash;to express their preference for male offspring, said William Saletan<em> </em>in <e

William Saletan
Slate.com

Should “the right to abortion” be an absolute right? asked William Saletan. Many pro-choice activists insist that abortion is purely a personal decision, and that the government should have no role in regulating it. But what if thousands of Americans were choosing to have abortions every year solely because the fetuses they were carrying were girls?

It’s already happening, according to a recent National Academy of Sciences report. Researchers found striking anomalies in the ratio of male to female births in U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents, indicating that parents were using sex-selection techniques—including abortion—to express their preference for male offspring. Among Asian-Americans, families whose first child was a girl had 50 percent more male babies than the norm in second and third births. One Asian-American mother of two girls told researchers, “If the third one was going to be a girl, then I would probably say I would have terminated.” Fertility clinics actually advertise that they can weed out girl embryos and guarantee boys.

So here’s my question to pro-choice absolutists: Is it none of the public’s business if thousands of people are using abortion to prevent the birth of “undesirable” baby girls?

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