Democrats have, in the last week, put legislation to bed that would have made illegal “sex selection abortion.” I wrote this before that happened. But, the extreme discomfort, and the insoluable ethical dilemma that has now been exposed, is not going to go away. Below, is a little exercise examining the logic around sex selection abortion.
Something exceedingly odd is happening in America. New moral taboos are growing up for all of the strangest reasons. but one takes ones’ taboos where one can get them.
I recently read both of Mary Eberstadt’s volumes and I found them wonderful (The Loser Letters, Adam and Eve After the Pill). She comes up with some data and some 2+2 detective work that is fascinating. In a closing chapter in the later volume, she details just how it was that by the 90s, pedophilia was on the verge of becoming very in. Following on the heels of radical chic in the late 60s was the coming pedophilia chic in the 90s. It was just on the verge of becoming fashionable, when (saved by the bell) America and Europe were struck by the pedophilia priest scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Herein is an interesting ambivalence. Liberals love to hate the Church, and it is perhaps true that in America, hating the Church via the Roman Catholic Church is the best of all ways forward. So liberals were stuck. In order to hate and execrate the Church, it also became necessary for pedophilia to become an unthinkable taboo. Today, it is a taboo, and perhaps one of only two or three sexual taboos that liberals will countenance (A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To Complete Libertinism). To be fair, it may also be that the pedophilia priest scandal re-awakened people to taboos they still deeply held, and were in danger of being washed away in the swift currents of the fashionable
Now, something else is happening. It is apparently unthinkable to ever abort because the fetus is female and one is especially desirous of a boy. This cannot be done, cannot be thought. We cannot be Chinese in our abortion intentions. Not only is there clamoring for laws to be passed forbidding this practice, but one must notice that the special crime is in the intention. Sex selection abortion is a thought crime, whatever else it may be.
Now, until the day before yesterday, abortion was permissible for any reason, and one must not even ask the why question. Fetuses had no legal rights, no legal protection. What was sacrosanct was the power the woman had to choose. But now, apparently there ought to be limits to choice. The fetus suddenly has significance and should have legal rights in case it is a little girl and is now unwanted for that reason.
This is very, very odd indeed. It turns out that in one case, a fetus ought to have rights. Female fetuses should have rights to protection if they are unwanted. Hmmmmm….the only fetuses who deserve legal rights are unwanted little girls. This seems to turn Roe vs., Wade on its head. It used to be the rationale for abortion was unwantedness. Now in a somersault, unwantedness is the sole and only reason for a fetus to deserve protection.
Let’s carry on a bit. What if we push a little bit? Is it really the case that criminal unwantedness should only function if the fetus is female? Will the detractors of sex selection abortion be comfortable with saying that it is just fine and dandy if we kill a fetus because it is a boy, and a little girl is what is really wanted? There may be some tough as nails die hard radical feminists out there who would consistently carry through, but I doubt they would have the guts to ever even say so in print and in public. It would make one feel a little uncomfortable, and liberalism is so much about not feeling uncomfortable, at almost any price, I doubt a very large contingency could be found to push such a proposition very far. For some reason (I have no idea why) consistency still counts for something,
So, it probably turns out that it is now unthinkable to abort in case the fetus is a little girl, or a little boy. Hmmmm…That seems to about cover the bases. There may be many genders, but there are still only two sexes. I suppose there is the very rare case of truly sexually mixed fetus (sexual dimorphism), but then liberals take seriously BLGT, and that includes bi-sexuals, and the transgendered, and the whole fight is for their full rights. Does the non-sex-selection lobby want to single out only bi-sexuals and the potentially transgendered, as being worthy to be snuffed out if that’s not the sex one wants?
But here is the dilemma. For liberals, abortion is still a legal, and a necessary good, and it would be unthinkable to not have legal access, for any other reason whatever. But now the cat is out of the bag. One has admitted that girlness, boyness, and bi-sexuality are significant and worthy of legal protection. But isn’t every fetus either a girl or a boy or bi-sexual?
Hmmmm.. I guess we had never noticed sexual identity before. But, now we have. Oh my! Can we now unnotice it? That might be tricky. Ought it now be legal to snuff out the little critter because, he, she, he/she are going to stand in the way of my graduate degree this year (or think of any of another thousand reasons)? Yesterday, the fetus was only as significant as an insect (who I can chose to swat for any reason). But now, because of feminism, it has been noticed that the little critter is also a boy, girl, boy/girl.
Well, if a new taboo begins to grow up because of the wooly-mindedness of liberalism, then so be it. It is a common sentiment in the Psalms that “God will make them fall into their own pits.”