Recently, in reaction to the breaking news about Planned Parenthood performing gender specific abortions, a bill was introduced into Congress seeking to make gender specific abortion illegal. The bill did not pass the House of Representatives, sparking something of a furor, not only from pro-life groups, but also from women’s rights groups.
I, for one, don’t see what people are complaining about. What did we expect? In what universe does it make sense to outlaw gender specific abortions? Why would a “women’s rights” group which might argue for abortion on demand one minute find it reasonable to argue against gender-specific abortions on the grounds of discrimination? Discrimination against whom? Or what?
According to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and the network of laws and decisions spawned from that, the preborn fetus is not a human person. It has no rights under the law and therefore can be terminated by its owner (the mother) for any reason whatsoever or for no reason at all. If that is the case then what possible grounds could there be for thinking that one reason is bad enough to be illegal? To try to legislate against that specific reason for abortion is to make the motive and not the act a crime.
An example of that already in law is in affirmative action. Suppose I am advertising an apartment for rent and a black man answers the advertisement. Since it is my apartment I can choose to rent or not rent exactly as I please, but if I decide not to rent to him I might be in trouble. He could sue me on the grounds that my refusal to rent was racially motivated and I would have to prove that my motives were something completely different. In this case an act that is not criminal gets me into trouble because of a possible motivation. This is a very dangerous road to follow for a lot of reasons, but on the most basic level it comes down to the principle that the government can have jurisdiction over the act only. Only God can judge motives.
So in the case of gender-specific abortions, the attempt to outlaw them essentially is saying that the motive of hating women and girls is worse than the act of killing a fetus. The only way this holds up logically is if you believe that the fetus is not human. However, if the fetus is not human then it cannot be either a woman or a girl. If it is not a human being then there is no one there to hate, no person to be the object of a “hate-crime”. It is no more wrong than neutering bulls to raise them for beef, while raising the cows for milk and breeding.
The flip side is also true. If it is wrong to discriminate against the fetus based on gender, that can only mean that the fetus is human. I suspect this was the real reason why the bill did not pass the House, because the legislators saw that if it did pass it would strike at the foundational principle of legalized abortion. So those who are made sick by the idea of aborting a fetus simply because it is a girl need to take a long hard look at what that really means.
The motive is really only important to us. The baby knows nothing of the motive, and I expect she wouldn’t care much. In the long run it makes little difference why someone kills you, whether because of your gender, or your race, or your uniform, or just because you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. To the victim it is all the same.
Note: this post should not be taken to mean that I approve or even am indifferent to misogyny. The hatred of women and girls by men, and even by themselves, is a very real and terrible issue in our world, with deep roots in the fallenness of our own human nature. But it is a different topic. The issue is not which babies it is legal to kill, or for what reasons it is legal to kill them. The issue is that they are being killed at all.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Ryan-Kraeger.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ryan Kraeger is a cradle Catholic homeschool graduate, currently serving as an Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant, stationed on the West Coast. He enjoys reading, thinking, and conversation, the making and eating of gourmet pizza, shooting and martial arts, and the occasional dark beer. His website is The Man Who Would Be Knight and he blogs here.[/author_info] [/author]