by Margo Borders
Diseases and poverty run rampant around the globe, yet one of the most life-threatening conditions in our world today is simply being a girl.
Sex-selective abortion is defined as the practice of terminating a pregnancy based on the predicted sex of the baby. Sex-selective abortions that target females are still very common in places such as India and China. For example, according to the 2011 census, there are 37 million more men than women in India. Not only is this lack of females devastating to gender equality, but it is also damaging to the cultures and the generations of men that will not be able find wives and start a family.
Surprisingly, sex-selective abortions are common in the United States as well. The ramifications of this have not been seen on such a massive scale as in India or China, but there are restrictions on sex-selective abortions in only four states: Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, American parents favor boys by a 40% to 28% margin. Women are still seeking sex-selective abortions in spite of the recent push for gender equality, and many feel pressured to make this choice.
Pope Francis spoke out recently in a speech in Rome to Catholic gynecologists about the sacredness of human life.
“Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world,” he said.
The pope attributed the disregard for human life through abortion to the “general mentality of what's useful, the 'throwaway culture,' that today enslaves the hearts and the intelligence of so many.”
I have visited an orphanage in China where there are many living products of this culture. Although it is encouraging that their parents chose life for them despite their gender, I can say firsthand what a shock it is to see so many little girls given up in the spirit of this “throwaway culture” because they simply were not male. Many of them were literally thrown away onto the street after their birth. If this is the product of a society that cannot see the true dignity of women, then America could be headed towards this dangerous reality.
The idea of inherent worth based on gender is discrimination at its most severe. Nothing is “pro-woman” when it comes to killing females in the womb. How can we promote a culture of life and opportunity for all women when sex-selective abortion is legal in 46 states? The fact that sex-selective abortion is still going on is a testament to the work that still needs to be done in promoting a society in which all people’s lives are cherished and protected.
Pro-life ideals embrace the uniqueness and inherent dignity present in all people, regardless of race, gender, or age. As a society, we should recognize the beauty and worth of all women, both inside and outside the womb. That is what being pro-woman and pro-life is all about.