Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sex-selective abortion and being "broken by grace"

Timothy Dalrymple has an astonishing essay on sex-selective abortion.

Excerpt:
So you learned the baby you helped to conceive is a girl and not a boy. Already frightened by the idea of fatherhood, already concerned about all the hardships and sacrifices parenting entails, already disoriented by the potential radical change this requires in the way you envision your future, you feel now — even if only slightly — more inclined to want your partner to abort. 
Perhaps it’s natural. You know how to relate to a boy. With a boy, all you have to do is wrestle on the floor, make some ripe fart sounds and squish a potato bug between your fingers — and you are a legend. You could take a boy to the Boston Celtics, but cannot abide the thought of taking a girl to the Boston ballet. You wanted to show your kid how to play Diablo III (or whatever version is out by then), not Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom. You understood the hit you would be taking to your wallet and your social life, not to mention your sex life, but you balanced the ledger against baseball games and taking pictures of your little gangsta and busting out the old Transformers collection. Now, you’re supposed to stick around and help take care of a girl, a girl who will probably show an absolutely irrational preference for the color pink, a girl who will be fascinated with faerie princesses and Hello Kitty and (God forbid) Barbie, a girl who will probably prefer your wife and conspire with her against you. 
So now you’re fantasizing about an abortion again...
This was not a problem envisioned by early advocates of legalized abortion. It emerged as new technologies like ultrasound imaging made it common for expectant parents to know the sex of the baby in the womb. Economic pressures are only one factor. Sex-selective abortion is as big a problem in wealthy Korea as it is in rural China, and all but unknown in some of the poorest nations in the world in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America. Sex-selective abortion is most common where (1) ultrasound imaging is easily available and (2) the prevailing culture is patriarchal and places a greater value on men for their earning potential, their capacity to help with physical labor, their responsibility to care for parents in their old age, and their ability to acquire a dowry with a bride. Many of the same cultures where infanticide was common, but now outlawed, have simply found in sex-selective abortion another form of exterminating unwanted females. A Population Council study of 301 induced abortions in China found that fully one-third of the abortions were undertaken specifically because the unborn child was female. The problem is also severe in India and other parts of South and East Asia, and in the former Soviet bloc nations, where few girls, especially when their parents already have a girl, survive the abortionist’s needle.
As many besides me have noted, it’s one of the most tragic ironies of the modern political world that this supposedly great “victory” for women’s rights has led to a cheap replacement for female infanticide. And the social pathologies that arise when the male-female ratio is out of whack are also terrible for women, especially (since there are too few women for every man to have a wife) the dramatic increase in prostitution and sex-slavery and human trafficking... [emphasis mine]

Dalrymple tells the story of his own daughter:

I had told myself that I just wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl. But when I first learned that the child growing within my wife’s womb was a girl, I felt a pang of disappointment. I had always looked forward to the father-son relationship. This will sound egotistical — and it is precisely that — but I had also wanted to see what a boy with my genetic inheritance, but with the opportunities and direction I could give him, could accomplish.

My firstborn is a total daddy’s girl, a free and brilliant spirit with boundless energy and courage and curiosity, a pseudo-tomboy who likes the Little Mermaid but loves to play in the mud on the riverbank. Although she won’t (yet) squish bugs between her fingers, she loves to wrestle and she thinks fart noises are the height of comic genius. I would have enjoyed watching my son beat the other boys in sports, but I’m really going to enjoy watching my daughter beat the boys at sports. Even if they were not athletic or high-spirited, however, both my girls (like their beautiful mother) have me charmed me body and soul. 
By the time I got back home, however, I had dissolved into an utter emotional wreck. I had a daughter. A daughter. She was not even born yet, but she was already there enfolded in my wife’s body, and the love I felt like a Leviathan within me was surging out of the depths and it was mysterious and primal and uncontrollable and immense. I have never recovered. After years of scarcely feeling anything, suddenly I found myself broken by grace, shattered with gratitude into a thousand happy pieces. I would dissolve with emotion at random times throughout the day; the mere thought of holding my daughter, protecting and providing for her, making sure she knew that she was loved through and through, left me undone. And every time that gratefulness shatters my heart, it pieces back together into something bigger and better, stronger and yet more tender. Even now I cannot write about this without a lump in my throat and the sting of salt in my eyes... 
Every man should have a daughter, if only for his own sanctification. If a daughter comes your way, know the truth that she will love you with all her heart if you let her. Cherish her, and she will be a daddy’s girl. Love her, and your heart will expand to encompass the immensity of her soul. Sacrifice yourself for her, and soon you will discover that you will do just about anything to make her happy. Even if it requires you to grow up a little.

This is my own experience, in Dalrymple's beautiful words:

I have never recovered. After years of scarcely feeling anything, suddenly I found myself broken by grace...

I was, and remain, broken by grace. I have two astonishing and loving daughters, and two wonderful and loving sons. They are funny and clever and reverent and irreverent and much wiser than I am. They (and their mom) are my treasures. They have been my sanctification, and I have never recovered.

Around the world, and even in our own country, people are aborting their daughters merely because they are not sons. And they are aborting their sons and their daughters merely because they are not wanted.

May God have mercy on us. We are dying for want of humility. We need to welcome God's gifts, and be broken by His grace.

27 comments:

  1. No one can fail to be moved by your eloquent plea in favor of women's rights, nor your conclusion that more religion is the answer.

    This also explains why women are fleeing secular hellholes like Vermont and Denmark in droves, and moving to religious paradises like Alabama and Saudi Arabia.

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  2. Most women I know wish we had a good Catholic president like Silvio Berlusconi. When Catholics are in charge, women get a better deal.

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  3. "... I have two astonishing and loving daughters, and two wonderful and loving sons. They are funny and clever and reverent and irreverent and much wiser than I am."

    That's kind of sad, really ... and a thing no conservative (*) would ever say.

    (*) most people who think themselves conservative are not; they are "liberals" -- for they implicitly and uncritically accept the premises of "liberalism" -- who just don't (yet) care to go to all the places "liberalism" logically demands.

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    1. ... specifically, I mean the "much wiser" part.

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  4. The essay is indeed astonishing because, not only does it acknowledge the greater desirability of boys, it totally ignores the desires and concerns of the mother. It’s all about what the man wants as if the woman doesn’t even exist. Conservative misogyny is so ubiquitous it’s even evident when they’re arguing against aborting girls.

    -KW

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    1. Are you a tool or simply a fool?

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    2. Or, put it more bluntly: are you stupid, or are you simply dishonest?

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  5. 'We are dying for want of humility'.

    Humility? What humility? Christians believe that God created the Universe for the sole benefit of humans. That humans were created in the image of God.

    Whereas, atheists know that humans are just one of at least 10 billion species. That most species eventually go extinct, a fate that humans could very easily share. That the Universe doesn't owe humans a living.

    If anything, it's Christians who suffer from hubris.


    Agreed. It's an astonishing essay. Written by an evangelical Christian who claims he was tempted by the thought of a sex selective abortion after learning of the fetal gender of his future child and the thought that he'd be deprived of the pleasures of father-son bonding. He's a liar. Abortion was never a consideration.

    Agreed. Sex selective abortion is wrong, and should never be allowed, because of the social problems it produces. Children should be wanted by their parents. Discrimination against females must end.

    But I wonder ... Why would an imbalance of males over females resulting from sex selective abortions lead to sex slavery and prostitution? Shouldn't market forces (which Michael praises as being more efficient than government regulation in solving problems) give much more power to parents with daughters and the daughters themselves? Who'd insist on receiving bride payments instead of having to pay dowries. Who'd insist on sons-in-law moving into the daughters' families rather than the sons'.

    Actually, large scale selective abortion should lead to the collapse of patriarchal society.

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    1. @bach:

      [Agreed. Sex selective abortion is wrong, and should never be allowed, because of the social problems it produces. Children should be wanted by their parents. Discrimination against females must end.]

      So selectively killing girls is wrong only because it causes "social problems"? Heck, you could correct the "social problem" of gender imbalance by aborting more boys. Would aborting girls then become morally right, as long as an equal number of boys were killed as well?

      What crap.

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    2. Michael,

      You're a farking idiot. You could only abort an equal number of male fetuses as would be aborted by sex selective terminations of female fetuses by making it compulsory for an equal number. Not only unethical but also illegal and impractical.

      You're the one coming up with utter crap.

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    3. Maybe Bachfiend could explain the meaning of 'social problems'...

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    4. Domics,

      Well, why don't you look at the many previous threads on sex selective abortions? In particular, the comments.

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    5. ok, let's say this: do you agree with color-of-eyes selective abortions as this do not produce any social problems? are the mother free to choise the color of the eyes of their children?

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    6. @bach:

      How about selective abortions among certain racial groups simply by siting low-cost abortion services in the communities in which these people live. Like, for example, if you are a national chain of abortion clinics and you selectively site your clinics in black and low-income neighborhoods?

      It's not a hypothetical. Planned Parenthood has been doing that for decades. It has long been a tactic of abortion proponents, and admitted publicly by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2009/07/09/whiff-euthanasia-ginsburg-tells-nyt-roe-was-about-populations-we-dont-wa)

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  6. Domics,

    What point are you trying to make? If I disagree with sex selective abortion, then I certainly disagree with 'designer babies' for social reasons, such as parents choosing eye colour of their babies - if that's even possible or practicable, because it would require amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling to determine the exact genome of the fetus instead of just fetal ultrasound to determine fetal sex. And that's assuming that we know the exact genes determining eye colour.

    Michael,

    Stop bringing up straw man arguments. I'm pro choice not pro abortion. The women still have to decide to choose to have an abortion. Having easy access to an abortion clinic isn't going to cause a woman to seek an abortion if she doesn't want one.

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    1. Are you pro-choice on rape, but not pro-rape? Pro-choice on murder, but not pro-murder?

      Why aren't you "pro-abortion"? It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that abortion is killing an innocent human being, does it?

      Why aren't you pro-abortion? Because it's icky?

      What possible reason could you oppose abortion personally, but believe that it is ok for others?

      Lets hear your gibberish.

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    2. Michael,

      I'm pro-choice. Adults have the right to decide what happens to their bodies. They have the right to eat or drink too much, to smoke, to be tattooed, to have an abortion. I don't have the right to forbid them from engaging in any of these activities, even though I disapprove of them, to varying degrees.

      Rape and murder aren't the same as abortion. A human fetus is human, but not a human being (or a person, baby or child). The victim of a murder or a rape is a human being or a person.

      Repeating ad infinitum that abortion is 'killing an innocent human being' doesn't make it true. My view is that abortion isn't to be encouraged. It's a procedure with complications. Not encouraging abortion isn't the same as opposing it. Stop thinking in black and white only.

      Do you still think that it's OK for a woman with eclampsia to be allowed to die, if rapid delivery of the fetus (as is the recognized management of this very serious obstetric emergency) results in a non-viable fetus? That you'd make the choice of having a dead woman and a dead fetus as being preferable to having a live woman and a potentially live fetus (depending on neonatal care) to preserve your aversion to abortion under all circumstances?

      You're certainly consistent, indeed over-rigid, in your views.

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    3. The issue of eclampsia is a difficult one. I am not sure of the Church's position on this issue. Some commentators have stressed that the principle of double effect may justify early delivery of the child. Others have stressed that it does not. It is a very difficult issue.

      It, however, has nothing to do with the abortion debate, which is about killing children in the womb because they are unwanted, not because they are a threat to the mother's life.

      Stick to the real issue, bach.

      Now on your bizarre assertion that a fetus is "human, but not a human being", this is another example of your lying about medical science. As a professional, you know full well that an embryo/fetus is,from a biological standpoint, a human being. No debate.

      You are entitled to your moral opinions. You are not entitled to misrepresent biological science.

      Human life begins at conception and ends at natural death. That is established science.

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    4. Michael,

      Don't stop changing your position when it suits you. In a previous thread you stated that it was OK for a pregnant woman with cancer to have cancer chemotherapy which could possibly damage the fetus or cause an abortion, because that was an unintended outcome.

      But you stated, and noted that it was the church's position, that a woman with eclampsia with a fetus not viable on dates, must not have the fetus delivered, if that's the only way of saving the woman's life, because delivery of a non-viable fetus was the foreseeable result of attempting to save the woman's life.

      And it is a matter of debate that a fetus isn't a human being, a person. Human, but not a human being. 'Human being' is a legal not a biological concept. In Australia, for example, there's no legal requirement to report spontaneous abortions to the coroner, to issue a death certificate or to have a funeral. The law generally doesn't consider the fetus to be a human being.

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    5. Bach,
      "A human fetus is human, but not a human being (or a person, baby or child). "
      The most stupid thing I have read in ages. Talk about selective morality disguised as science. What pretentious BULLSHIT, Bach. You're not even correct grammatically. Have a look and see what the word 'Babe' and 'Baby' has meant historically. Baby refers to a child both BEFORE and AFTER birth.

      Mike,
      "Human life begins at conception and ends at natural death. That is established science."
      Spot on. It really is that simple.
      Bach is just trying hide in a maze of semantics to justify killing innocent life for financial and/or social convenience. He replaces biological science with legalistic bullshit whenever it suites him.

      ***********

      For all our reductionist pals:

      A human embryo is alive and exists, and is therefore a called 'being'. An ant is a being, a dog is a being, a tadpole is a being. They are all alive and they exist.
      A HUMAN embryo can only ever be human (it's total potential). It also exists and is alive.

      A living being that is human is called a 'human being'. It really does not matter what lawyers say, or what some crank redefines life as - these are the age old facts.
      There are different stages of human life. An embryo and a foetus are among the earliest and most innocent.
      Our moral instinct is to protect innocent life (even animal) and a reversal of that instinct for selfish reasons (there could be no other) is EVIL.
      That is all.
      Dismissed.

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    6. CrusadeRex,

      Typical bullshit from you. I don't have any financial and/or social interest in elective abortions. It's just that I don't think that anyone has the right to dictate what an adult person does to her own body. And a foetus is not a human being in my and a considerable number of other people's opinion. Michael is just wrong when he claims that a foetus is a human being from conception, even before implantation. Is a fertilized ovum in in vitro fertilization a human being if it's not implanted and stored frozen? If it is, then why aren't you campaigning for all of them to be retrieved and implanted into volunteers? If not, why not? They're just as human as a naturally fertilized ovum, which may or may not implant, and if it does implant, has a good chance of being spontaneously aborted.

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    7. " And a foetus is not a human being in my and a considerable number of other people's opinion."...

      Exactly: an opinion!
      you have you have no certainty! so why do not apply the precautionary principle?

      Could I remember that until a short time ago science and scientists supported that black people were not fully human being? and this was a considerable number of other people's opinion?

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    8. @bach:

      [Michael is just wrong when he claims that a foetus is a human being from conception, even before implantation.]

      If a fetus (embryo actually) is not a human being at conception, but becomes a human being sometime later, then bach is inventing a radically new biology.

      He is asserting that a "tissue" (or organ or clump or something) begins to grow in the mother, and at some magical time later it transforms into a human being. That is, bach asserts that a human being is not created by the union of a sperm and an ovum (traditional biology) but by budding-- by the spontaneous transformation of a piece of the mother's body into a new human being. Like a flatworm.

      Will someone please explain to bach where babies come from?

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    9. Bach,

      "Typical bullshit from you."
      Cheers. Glad you enjoyed the flavour.

      "It's just that I don't think that anyone has the right to dictate what an adult person does to her own body. "
      Your logic is flawed from the outset.
      I will make it VERY simple for you, Bach.
      The Foetus is not PART of the woman's body.
      The Foetus is connected to her body, and within her body - but is very much alive and functioning on his/her own.
      A foetus is not a growth or organ.
      A foetus is not by-product of some biological function or secretion.
      A foetus is the word we use to describe a certain stage of a baby's developement - while still inside his mother.
      A foetus is an independent (human) being growing within the reproductive regions of the woman created via the process of reproduction with a man.

      "And a foetus is not a human being in my and a considerable number of other people's opinion."
      Again, I'll boil it down.
      What is a being? To be considered a 'being' a thing must exist (ie 'be') and also be alive.
      If a foetus exists, is alive, and is human - it is a 'human being'.
      Opinion does not come into it.....
      ....unless you are attempting to redefine the 'human' part of the expression?

      "Michael is just wrong when he claims that a foetus is a human being from conception, "
      No. He is irrefutably correct if we assume the parents where human beings and the sex cells were unaltered.
      A senior citizen was a was also human from conception, and so he was a human as an adult, a teen, a youth, an infant, a newborn, a foetus, and an embryo... right to the moment of conception.
      'Human' is the name we give his life potential.
      That is the form of his existence.
      Part of that existence is the foetal stage.
      He only ceases to be human when dead.
      Even then we respect the physical remains of humans (and even animals) dear to us.
      Do you suggest a foetus is less human than a corpse in a coffin? If so, please explain how that corpse came to be without ever being a foetus first.

      "[..]even before implantation."
      Are you suggesting the moment of implantation is the real moment 'humanity' begins?
      If so, how can you see abortion as anything but the killing of innocent human life?
      If not, what does the embryonic implantation have to do with any of this and what about that process somehow invalidates Mike's opinions on conception?


      "Is a fertilized ovum in in vitro fertilization a human being if it's not implanted and stored frozen?"
      Yes. It has been imbued with the human potential and the process of life has begun. The cooling simply slows those processes until the embryo can be implanted and a child brought to term.
      A more interesting question might be is how old is that child really?

      "If it is, then why aren't you campaigning for all of them to be retrieved and implanted into volunteers? "
      For the same reason most people like me are not. We are too involved in our own lives to chase every cause we believe in. If you're asking me if I would like to see all those embryos potentials realized with a family - the answer is: Yes!

      "They're just as human as a naturally fertilized ovum"
      The humanity of embryo is not in question.
      The humanity of the people fertilizing the embryo is the real question here.
      WHY are the embryos being stored? For what ends?

      "[...]which may or may not implant, and if it does implant, has a good chance of being spontaneously aborted."
      ....and may or may not be killed or die once born, or may be killed as riding a motorcycle as a teenager, or may die of at war or of a heart failure due to poor diet as an adult, or perhaps from cancer from pollution in old age...
      So?

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    10. CrusadeRex,

      See my last comment, the mea culpa one, to the current thread "'tissue' talks".

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  7. Domics,
    Excellent question.
    What about the precautionary principle indeed?!
    It's funny how such normal checks and safeguards are abandoned in modern science whenever the morality attains the stench of sulfur.
    I'd very much like to hear Bach's response to that very pointed question, as well Domics.

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