After getting my kids off to college this weekend, I actually sat back and read the newspaper! Thumbing through the New York Times, I came across an article about a new medical test that would help couples identify the sex of their unborn baby much earlier in the pregnancy. Today, you have to wait until about 15 weeks or so to get a definitive answer.
This is a great scientific advancement so, of course, the pro-life groups are up in arms and expressing grave concern. That’s because they think that women will start aborting fetuses because they wanted a boy instead of a girl or they already had three girls and were hoping to mix it up a bit. And, of course, if the male has anything to say about it, he would abort that silly little girl over the next Derek Jeter.
Let’s all acknowledge that in certain cultures boys are preferred over girls and the practice of sex selection abortions is rather common in some of those cultures. And, to be honest, while the idea of aborting a fetus because of its sex feels rather strange to me, I still have to support the woman on this one. As I have always said, up until the point of viability the women should be able to abort no matter what the reason, no matter how uncomfortable it might be for others. That’s because, if you start carving out exceptions such as sex selection, then you’re on a slippery slope and our lawmakers would soon be looking at other exceptions.
Of course, those who were raised in other cultures wind up coming to the United States so it is quite possible that a woman, for example, from India might want an abortion here in the U.S. because she knows she’s having a girl. This new test will allow her to identify the sex much earlier which would allow her to have an abortion earlier in her pregnancy. And, if you are going to have an abortion, earlier is always better than later, no?
So, yes, this new test might “encourage” a woman, particularly one from the East, to have an abortion for purposes of sex selection. But let’s be real about this.
The fact is that when a woman goes into an abortion facility, after signing the paperwork, getting some medical tests, etc. she is then seen by a counselor. The counselor discusses with her the abortion process, she reviews her other options, she talk about birth control and, well, sometimes they just plain talk. But in the vast majority of reputable abortion clinics, the counselor does not ask why the woman is having the abortion. There is no reason to know. It would not change the abortion process. That issue is left to the woman and anyone else she wishes to have involved in the decision. Sure, a woman might just voluntarily offer why she was having the abortion but that question is not on the counselor’s “must ask” list.
So, in the future if a woman takes this new test and it indicates she is having a girl and she decides she does not want a girl, she may abort. Personally, I think that would be a rare circumstance, i.e., to abort just because of the sex. Even if you prefer a boy, when you learn that it’s a girl you perspective can change rather rapidly. But if she wants to abort for that reason, no one is gonna know unless she decides to voluntarily talk about it.
Meanwhile, however, pro-life legislators have already indicated that they will be introducing measures prohibiting sex selection abortions. I say go for it boys. I think it’s a waste of time but if that’s where you want to spend your resources, go knock yourself out. That’s because the reality is that, if you pass a bill prohibiting sex selection abortions, a woman will simply go to the clinic and, in the very unlikely event that she is asked why she is having an abortion, she’ll just make up another reason.