Science is great. It—“it” is always an it, an invisible entity, a guiding sapience, an intelligence that can be looked to for guidance—can now us tell the sex of a fetus before that fetus pops outside its mother and becomes a child. This is good news for those who support a woman’s right to choose to kill her fetus because she doesn’t want to inconvenienced with a girl child.
Fetal sex-identification technology has been fully embraced by Indian women, who have been choosing to abort female fetuses at a rate much larger than they kill off male fetuses. Result: a surfeit of male children.
So reports a new study in the Lancet: “Trends in selective abortions of girls in India” by Jha et al. The main finding is that “Selective abortions of girls totalled about 4.2—12.1 million from 1980—2010, with a greater rate of increase in the 1990s than in the 2000s.”
Note that there was still an increase in girls being aborted, or there was no change, in the 2000s. The rate of increase slowed, but not the mismatched abortion rate. This reinforces work the same authors did earlier.
Somewhat frighteningly, the authors write, “After adjusting for excess mortality rates in girls, our estimates of number of selective abortions of girls rose from 0—2.0 million in the 1980s, to 1.2—4.1 million in the 1990s, and to 3.1—6Â·0 million in the 2000s.” Even after girls make it past the womb—a dangerous place—they are still dying at rates faster than males. It doesn’t pay to be female in India!
The authors find in particular that abortion of girls happens much more often after the mother has already had a girl baby. They surmise that, not wanting a second girl, the mothers fumigate their wombs to make space for a boy. Whether or not that is true, the sex difference is there and undisputed.
According to a news report on the study, “Declines were much greater in mothers who had gone to school for at least ten years than in mothers with no education at all. The same trend held true for wealthier households compared to poorer ones.”
Poverty and ignorance, then, aren’t driving sex selection. Desire for boys is.
The same thing is happening in China, and has been for some time, due to that country’s enlightened “one-child” policy, based on the faulty neo-Malthusian logic that, if left to themselves, humans will out-breed their food supply.
This is, as has been pointed out many times, physically impossible. A female cannot become pregnant and give birth if she is starving.
In any case, the sex imbalance exists in China and India. The kicker is that selective abortion is illegal in India and China (and Taiwan). It is against the law. It is not allowed. It is verboten. Doctors who perform the operations are arrested, shamed, and jailed.
Yet, somehow, it still happens.
It happens in these United States, too. But the trends, as many social trends are here, are different depending on racial group. Whites tend to abort based on the egalitarian principle, other races eliminate girls preferentially.
The good news is that abortion for sex selection is legal in the USA.
Lost in this story is what sex selection means for larger demographic trends. The so-called replacement rate is 2.1 (live) births per mother. It’s not exactly 2, because a live birth does not always mean the child makes it to reproductive age, not all who survive actually breed, while some moms have many children, and so on. The 2.1 is an average.
Suppose we take the average in India and discover it is close to 2.1 (it is actually 2.6). You might first assume all is well, as far as the population being able to replace itself. But the official 2.1 assumes the sex ratios are not manipulated artificially. If it is manipulated in favor of boys, women need to have more children to keep the population at current levels.
Why? Consider that if all women, through the miracle of abortion, have boys, then of course the population dies in a generation. Thus, the more the sex imbalance favors boys, the faster the population will dwindle.
This isn’t the case if the sex imbalance favors girls: that is, if boys are aborted faster than girls. This is because, as Arnold Schwarzenegger can tell you, one man can impregnate many more than one female. But a female can only have one kid at a time, no matter how many men she “dates.”
Progressives are in a tricky political situation. They desire legal abortion, but they also favor women’s rights and hate seeing more men than necessary. Making sex selection illegal doesn’t work; and, anyway, it’s the woman’s body and who are we to say what she can do with her fetus? On the other hand, progressives don’t like population (a.k.a. people), and sex selection reduces the population and favors the environment. Not an enviable position to be in.