by Gregory Koukl
Would you believe that there is a choice the “pro-choicers” do not want you to make?
I have some opening comments I’d like to make in the wake of the Women’s Conference in China. Frankly, I haven’t been that interested in it. I know that Christian groups dealing with the family, family politics, American culture have been very watchful of this meeting and have followed it closely. I’ve had the feeling that their literature may be just a little alarmist, to be honest with you, although I think the basic considerations are important.
This is a women’s conference that is trying to chart the world’s agenda for the women’s movement for the next decade. You can’t just ignore this kind of thing because it is going to have an impact. It will have its biggest impact, I think, in the area of human rights, specifically of abortion. That’s the area I am most concerned with.
To be honest with you, I actually think that much of the women’s movement is extreme and is unsupported by the majority of women. I think the extreme elements of it, those who want to ignore or deny the difference between men and women, or are trying to make their roles exactly the same, are doomed to failure because they are fighting nature. In other words, women bear children and, because of that natural function, there are certain things that will be true about women, such as the way they comport themselves, and also in their ability to compete with men in the open market. I don’t think that women are mentally incapable. I think they have a different role because they are child-bearers and nurturers. I think men and women are at their best when they are fulfilling their roles. I think men are at their best when they are hunters/warriors, providers and protectors. There are variations of that theme and I have no problem with that, but to try to pretend there is no difference between the two is doomed to failure.
The idea of trying to make women the cultural carbon copy of men is doomed to failure. It’s going to fail from within, not because you have a bunch of male chauvinists, but because women are women and men are men and that is the way it is. They each have natures they are fulfilling, and their natures manifest themselves in certain cultural forms.
I’m not concerned about the whole movement. I think much of it is extreme and will die a death from within because it does not fit the world the way it really is. I am concerned about the abortion issue, because now you have not only a movement dying its death, but you have children dying a death.
One of the things I was rather mystified by is the references to aborting female children. Some called this female feticide and others actually referred to it specifically as murder. I have always felt that people, generally speaking, are deeply confused in their ethical thinking, and no better evidence for this can be found than in the daily letters to the editor of your local newspaper.
I read the letters to the editor, just for the fun of it, and I read some of the responses to the issues to see how people are so confused in their ethical thinking. I saw responses to some of the literature that has come through the L.A. Times about female feticide. There was actually an interesting Op/Ed piece from September 6, 1995, called “The Ultimate Sexual Degradation,” written by Catherine Dowling. I wondered whether she was either completely confused or if she was a pro-lifer in disguise because she was arguing that the ultimate sexual degradation is to kill females while they are still in the womb. She calls it female infant murder, which is a rather strong word to be used for abortion coming from a feminist or an apparent feminist.
Catherine Dowling is a family physician at the U.S.C. School of Medicine. She says “The ultimate act of the devaluation of a human being is an inflicted death. In battle we devalue the enemy so that we can more easily kill him. In female infanticide we devalue the worth of half of mankind.” She talks about the problem of this search and destroy mission in China where women take ultrasounds to find out if their unborn child is a girl. If it is, then they kill it. Of course, it is the absolute bane of the feminists to hear this, which always struck me as unusual because up to this time they have always claimed that abortion on demand is a woman’s right. Now all of a sudden they object. Now, there are apparently limitations to this constitutional, universal, God-given right to abortion on demand, and that limitation is if you want to abort the child if it’s a female.
Dowling says further, “If a female fetus floats across the ultrasound screen, her genitalia condemn her to death in utero.” Catherine Dowling continues, “Nor is the problem of female infanticide in or out of the uterus limited to China.” Here’s what mystifies me. There have been some letters to the editor that have raised just this issue. I’m not sure if Catherine Dowling is trying to say, “This is terrible. This female infanticide.” Feminists accept her argument, and without realizing it they buy into a different ethic–the value of the unborn child. Then if you say that female feticide is immoral, by what line of reasoning do you say that male feticide is not also immoral? That may be what Catherine Dowling is doing. If it is, then she’s got quite a deft hand.
But the question I read in the letters to the editor that raised this particular issue was this: What does this argument actually mean? Does this mean that only female babies are valuable? Or does it mean that it is okay to devalue humans by killing them, but not to devalue females by killing them as females? It seems to me that this is either bad thinking or the most perverse form of sexism. It’s okay to kill unborn humans but you can’t kill unborn humans if you are killing them because they are female. Then, of course, the other question that comes up is, what about female infanticide right here in the U.S.? What? We do that here? Yes, to the tune of 1.5 million a year, judging that probably half of those aborted are females. This, to me, is the most confused of all thinking in the abortion issue, and the feminists really show their hands when they argue in this fashion.
In other words, if you didn’t know the sex of the child you could kill them, but since you know the sex of the child and you choose to kill them because of the sex of the child then you are immoral and it is an abomination. I don’t get that.
I want to read some of the responses in the letters to the editor. This is where you will see all kinds of confused thinking. I am willing to grant that Catherine Dowling is trying to pull a fast one on the pro- abortionists here, by appealing to their natural bias to women such that they condemn female feticide. Then, once they condemn female feticide, she can ask the question, “Now how can you not at the same time condemn male feticide?” In any event, I don’t give that same kind of credit to some of these writers. Here’s what one of them said: “Dowling passes quickly over the idea of the U.S. delegate equating female feticide with the benefit of reducing world population, as if such a consideration were unworthy of serious comment.” She goes on to say, “We should consider the problem of world population and maybe we should use abortion as a way of population control.”
Now, this sentence is what gets me: “Female feticide is a potentially effective, if cruel, solution to further future over-population.” What is cruel? Why is female feticide cruel? It is not cruel to the woman, it seems to me. She is the one who wants the abortion. It can only be cruel to the one being killed. Why does it matter whether it is a male or a female? It shouldn’t make any difference. It is still cruel. If it is cruel, then how do we justify it? I’m confused.
Another writer says, “What needs to be denounced is the sex selectivity that is a cultural tradition that has been practiced in Chinese families for centuries. Infanticide regarding baby girls must be roundly condemned by all nations.” I agree. “Sex selective abortions should be ended, although abortion as a general birth control method should be preserved.” What is that?
What makes a sex selective abortion immoral but abortion in general moral? I just don’t get it. In other words, if you didn’t know the sex of the child you could kill them, but since you know the sex of the child and you choose to kill them because of the sex of the child then you are immoral and it is an abomination. I don’t get that.
I have never seen anyone develop that argument, and I have never seen anyone explain how the unborn child is not valuable enough to save. The value does not accrue to the unborn child. That’s not the issue, because if it did then no abortion would be okay. The real crime here is what? Not wanting to have a girl. Why is it a crime to not want to have a girl? It’s not a crime to not want a girl, it’s a crime to abort one. But you’ve just said that it’s okay to abort unborn children. It’s not the little baby girl’s life that you are concerned about, it’s the reason you’re concerned about. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. It just shows the absolute, utter moral confusion on the one hand, and on the other hand it shows how movements oftentimes produce just the thing they hate.
For instance, I think that the civil rights movement has produced racist people. In other words, it has produced people who are incapable of seeing anything except in terms of color. Everything is color to these people. I think the women’s movement, which started out of a concern for gender mistreatment, now has produced people who see everything in terms of gender and are fiercely committed to their own gender. Which means they are what? They are sexists. That’s what a sexist person is.
The chief moral offense here is not taking a life, the chief moral offense is an offense against females. Not female persons mind you, but females in the abstract. Did you see that? Their offense is not against female persons. You can abort female persons. Their offense is against females in the abstract.
Now if that doesn’t tell you that there is an agenda here, I don’t know what does.
This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show “Stand to Reason,” with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1995 Gregory Koukl
For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON • (562) 595-7333 • www.str.org