Friday, July 01, 2011

A Lack of Female Children has NOT the result I would expect

So, in a book about sex selection (Mara Hvistendahl's book, "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men." ) the results of fewer women are not what I expected.  Thinking about it, my expectations were based on my moral compass.
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I would expect that a scarcity of women would result in more value being assigned to women.  Maybe in the worse case, wars being fought were a whole nation (China for example) has fewer brides available that grooms want.
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But I didn't take into account how powerless some women, especially young woman, are.  Turns out fewer women leads to a greater value in women, but not the "value" of spirit I would expect, but value in dollars as they are sold.
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Quoting from the author: I make very clear in my book that the victim is women -- women who in the 1960s and 1970s were used as pawns in a Western drive to reduce birth rates in Asia, women who later aborted female fetuses against the backdrop of patriarchy, and women who, now that they are scarce, find themselves at greater risk of being trafficked, kidnapped, or sold by their parents to men desperate to find wives. (The State Department's 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, released last week, lists the dearth of women as a cause of rampant sex trafficking in and around China.)
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And now, to make matters worse, sex selection is being used as an argument against access to abortions.  Sex selection abortions should be made illegal - that makes simple sense to me - but...  This well meaning line of reasoning suffers from my earlier mistake.  We impose our expectations.  You and I would expect that if you can't abort for sex selection you won't abort at all, and raise a young girl.  Perhpas even give the child up for adoption where she would be raised with love and a great home.
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But, in fact, most people simply lie as to the reason for the abortion (which I would expect) or kill the young girl child right after birth - which is an action that never occurred to me.
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And thus one is faced with an odd situation.  If you remove access to abortion in parts of the world - and it simply results in killing infants, is that a better thing?
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Hard questions have hard answers.

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