Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sex Selective Abortion: Latest SHRIEEEEK!

People are all up in arms because Rona Ambrose, Cabinet Moron Responsible for the Status of Women, voted in favour of Woodworth's Wank, aka The Motion to Determine When the State Gets Up Into Our Hoo-haws.

This should be no surprise. She has voted for fetal rights before.

But here her 'worry' is simply ridiculous.
The federal cabinet minister responsible for the status of women has offered at least a partial explanation for why she voted in support of a pro-life motion in the House of Commons.

Rona Ambrose says on Twitter that she's long been worried about discrimination against girls through "sex selection abortion."
One would need way more than 140 characters to get from Woodworth's Wank to sex selection abortion as it requires some spectacularly twisty gymnastics.

Then, right on cue, today CON MP Mark Warawa tabled a motion to condemn sex selection abortion.

We've been down this path at DJ! several times.

Is gender selection happening in Canada? Seems so, but the numbers are dodgy and the methodology controversial. (See above link for specific studies and reports.)

There is NO evidence that the at-birth gender ratio is skewed in Canada generally as a result, unlike in India and China where it is widely practiced.

There is some (questioned) evidence that there may be a slight gender ratio difference in 'some communities'.

But, as we've argued here before, so what? We've got lots of people in Canada. The few 'extra' boys in 'some communities' may be forced to look outside those communities for partners.

And that's a good thing. *evilsmiley*

Running with the sensational story though, back in June, CBC did an undercover gotcha on private ultrasound clinics to see whether any were willing to test for gender before the usual 20 weeks' gestation mark.

The notion is that if information is withheld until after 20 weeks, women and families inclined to select for males will not be able to. Abortion after 20 weeks is not done in Canada unless for pressing reasons.

The CBC did find clinics willing to perform ultrasounds earlier. Most of the cases seemed to me a result of sloppy training or an over-eagerness to please. One of the cases is indeed disgustingly venal and exploitive.

So, is that the whole story?

Seems not. In the US, where the same 'communities' are under scrutiny, the practice is getting coverage too. Like this recent story in Slate: How to Buy a Daughter.
Much of the evidence that Americans preferentially choose girls is anecdotal, as no larger body tracks gender selection procedures. But data from Google show that “how to have a girl” is searched three times as often in the United States as “how to have a boy.” Many fertility doctors say that girls are the goal for 80 percent of gender selection patients. A study published in 2009 by the online journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online found Caucasian-Americans preferentially select females through PGD [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] 70 percent of the time. Those of Indian or Chinese descent largely chose boys.
Some want boys, some want girls. Things even out.

But, of course there's more.

In this article, the author argues that sex selection is a parental right.

And why not? If we stand for reproduction by choice, why would we eliminate one category of choice? Me, I don't see a problem.

But there is.

Perhaps ironically, sex selection has caused some consternation among some feminists, a group usually known for their vocal support of reproductive freedom. Their objections to gender selection center around the possibility that the practice will encourage gender stereotypes. Girls made to be girls, they say, will face an undue burden to behave a certain way, to take up an interest in fashion instead of basketball, for example. That's certainly a possibility, but the complaint overlooks the fact that males and females are actually different in some important ways, as a lot of research has shown. Given those differences between the sexes, is it really such a bad thing that parents may prefer to raise a girl instead of a boy? 
Back in the Slate article, there is indeed some glurgey anecdotal crap about women wanting girls to shop, dress, and cook with.


But choice is choice.

You're for it or against it.

This issue is obviously the focus of the fetus fetishists' next gambit. It polls well for them.

From a January Angus-Reid poll:
Three-in-five respondents—including two thirds of women—believe there should be laws to outline whether a woman can have an abortion based solely on the gender of the fetus.
There oughta be a law!

I think Ambrose's idiotic justification and Warawa's Wank are just ploys to keep the fetus fetishists revved up and going for their chequebooks.

It may develop into something more serious and I'll woman the barricades again.

But I need a rest first.


e.a.f. said...

She needs to resign her portfolio immediately. She can not vote yes & remain in this portfolio. Women have been fighting for the right to control their own bodies for as long as I can remeber & she votes to invade them with the government in tow. Not so much. Ambrose obviously doesn't get it. Her rationale is a crock. She has no business trying to poke around in another woman's uterus, regardless of what is in there.

Antonia Z said...

Ambrose could not even show up on CBC this afternoon to explain her motivations. Her caucus proxies did, and contradicted themselves.

What Ambrose -- who is responsible for assuring the equality of women -- did is vote against women's equality.

Women cannot have equality unless they have control over their bodies. It is no coincidence that women have advanced since the introduction of the Pill and the availability of safe, legal abortions.

While I have no doubt that some people really do vote with their conscience, I don't buy the idea that privileged men (especially) who display no religious tendencies, or who advocate for "pre-emptive wars," really care about "preborn babies with their little toes still in the birth canal," but are really simply threatened by women leaving them in their dust.

Beijing York said...

Like you fern, I am so ready to takes a well deserved nap but I can't and I wish I could. There opponents are life freaking bed bug. Hard to eliminate. I swear they are trying to wear us down. But every once in awhile I am encouraged. A male colleague of mine who was by my side while we were waiting to board a flight home, commented that it was disgusting that Ambrose voted for M312. You cannot imagine how pleasantly surprised I was. Unfortunately, our other colleague there was silent. That scares me.

Unknown said...

I was blown away when I read that Ms. Ambrose, the Status of Women Minister, voted against women. Now, much is being made (even by some on the left who are trying to appear 'moderate') are saying the rhetoric against Ms. Ambrose is overblown and that this Motion was only meant to establish a committee. I say to them: it's a slippery slope my friends, and the right is applying as much grease as they can. Any way to try and introduce conditions and apply a new definition of life would begin the slide to certain exceptions. Heaven forbid!

Sixth Estate said...

Like you, I wasn't terribly surprised that several Cabinet ministers voted for this, but the obvious disconnect between Ambrose's vote and her portfolio troubled me. I think that had she taken her moral obligation to explain herself to the voters seriously, the outrage would be somewhat lessened. (It would still be an outrage, as much as all the other votes were, but at least she would have tried to account for it, which would earn a tiny modicum of respect from me.)

With respect to the new sex-selective abortions gambit -- as long as abortions are legal, I can't imagine how you could conceivably outlaw sex-selective abortions. No two parents with at least half a brain between them would have much trouble coming up with an "alternative" reason for an abortion. And THEN what will physicians do? Racial profiling? Only allow white people to abort female fetuses?

Plus, it has the amusing potential to create a big rift in thinking about fetuses as "human beings." It takes a good while after conception before the sex of a fetus could be feasibly determined. During that time period, what? Are they "not fully human" yet? :-)

fern hill said...

Women have no illusions about this government's view of them, Ryan. I think that vote was pure kabuki, carefully orchestrated by Harpie.

Ambrose's vote was a sop to the REAL (puke) Women, aka The Don't You Dare Call Me Feminist, As I Earn Equal Wages, Use Daycare, Apply for Male-Dominated Work. . . Gang.

fern hill said...

Read the comments on any story about 'some communities' using sex-selective abortion. (Or don't, if you don't want to bleach your eyeballs afterwards.) This issue evokes a toxic stew of misogyny and racism.

fern hill said...

Crap. I just deleted a comment from Sixth Estate. (I don't know how I did it. Sorry, Sixth.)

The point being made was that a law against sex selective abortion would be unenforceable without banning abortion altogether, which would be fine with most of these people.

In other words, this is just another wank.

JJ said...

Agreed. This new thing was waiting in the hopper, to be tabled ASAP in the event that M312 failed. Whatever momentum was built by M312, they want to keep it going.

Look at the #M312 timeline: they're all crowing about the "continuing debate". Barf.

I see no point in giving it any hype since that's what they want, and anyway, it's not the threat that M312 was. In fact, in a convoluted way I think the fetus fetishists have kind of shot themselves in the foot with this one: it steers the abortion convo away from Teh Fetus©®™ and back to women. I applaud Rona Ambrose for helping emphasize that.

Sixth Estate said...


Anyhow, yes, that was the point. The law can be used to prevent actions; it can't really be used to judge intentions. So the only way to ban sex-selective abortions would be either to ban sex determination or to ban abortion.

Which, I suspect, is precisely the point, given that most of the people behind the "ban selective abortions" campaign are also members of the "ban all abortions" movement.

Gail Rhyno said...

"Woman the barricades!" :) I need that on a t-shirt.

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