Reaping the Whirlwind: A Reflection on the Global War Against Baby Girls and Its Social Implications

From the “God save us from ourselves” file comes a chilling study entitled The Global War Against Baby Girls by Nicholas Eberstadt. It is published in the New Atlantis. It describes the ever-widening trend of sex-selected abortion, a trend which now effects up to forty percent of the world’s population.  The article is steeped in numbers (enough to make you cross-eyed) and well researched. But it is so sad to read and and its descriptions are a testimony to human folly and sinfulness. We have sown in the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.

It is a very lengthy article and I can present only a small portion here. As usual the original text of Mr. Eberstadt is in bold black italics, and my remarks are in normal red text:

Over the past three decades the world has come to witness an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination: sex-selective feticide, implemented through the practice of surgical abortion with the assistance of information gained through prenatal gender determination technology. All around the world, the victims of this new practice are overwhelmingly female—in fact, almost universally female. The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still- growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe—and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new “missing baby girls” each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.

A pretty good executive summary of the problem. Has anyone heard from women’s rights activists and those who advocate for “women’s healthcare?” Perhaps I have missed some reports of the outcry from them? The report later concludes that this practice declares: women as the disfavored sex in nakedly utilitarian terms, and indeed signaling that their very existence is now conditional and contingent (upon cultural preferences). Again, perhaps I have missed the outcry and the protests, the planeloads of Western Feminists descending upon these nations to protest and the demands for sanctions.

But then again, maybe I have not missed it, since such a thing is “off message” that abortion is wholly a matter of free choice and is an unabridged healthcare right never to be interfered with. Saying that ANY form of abortion should be disallowed would be for them, the first chip in the precious crystal they call abortion. Better to let baby girls die and the female sex be despised by many than lose the “most fundamental right” in women’s “healthcare.” Or so the logic would seem.

One thing I think it is fair to note that the report mentions, most of the nations where this is going on have laws against sex-selected abortion. But they are not enforced.

The modern phenomenon of biologically unnatural increase in the sex ratio at birth (due to sex selected abortion) was first noticed in the 1980s for China, the world’s most populous country. In 1979, China promulgated its “One Child Policy,” a compulsory and at times coercive population-control program that continues to be enforced to this day (albeit with regional and temporal variations in severity). In 1982, China’s national population census—the first to be conducted in nearly two decades—reported a disturbing demographic anomaly [of as high as 120 males per 100 females born].

The pernicious and evil one-child policy of China also commands a great deal of silence from the decadent. For all the talk here in the West about “the government staying out of my bedroom” there is a looking the other way when it comes to China. Here too the silence may well emerge from our (wrongful) western notion that the world is overpopulated. While not approving of the method necessarily, I suspect many are pleased that there are, as a result, fewer humans on the planet. Indeed, that is an essential goal of the culture of death, fewer people.

Another lesson here is that unrepented sin leads to distortion in the human person and to culture. Hence, the Chinese and others in the far East are sowing in the wind and reaping the whirlwind. Their whole culture is becoming distorted and they are heading for a major crisis as the proper balance of men and women is lost. More on that below.

What is driving the Imbalance?

One commonality to China and the [nearby countries]  is a Confucian cultural heritage, which places an imperative on continuing a family’s lineage through the male heir as a metaphysical key to greater universal harmony and virtue. Confucian heritage [however] is not a unique identifier of societies at risk of mass female feticide. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam—a society with a deep Buddhist tradition—now shows strong indications like China…

[Hence a fuller] explanation for unnaturally high male to female birth rates appear to arise from a collision of three forces: first, local mores that uphold a truly merciless preference for sons; second, low or sub-replacement fertility trends, which [weights] the gender outcome of each birth with extra significance for parents with extreme gender bias; and third, the availability of health services and technologies (easy and affordable abortion and prenatal sex diagnostics) that permit parents to engineer the sex composition of their families—and by extension, of their societies.

And everyone of these factors is rooted in human interference and a rejection of what nature and Nature’s God provide.  The lesson will be clear enough, start messing around and playing God, and rejecting what God provides, and soon enough you’re in a real mess. Thus contraception, the misuse of medical technologies and a playing God by choosing who will live and who will die, and who is fit and who is not,  all lead to a very dark place.

So what are the social implications

The consequences of medically abetted mass feticide are far-reaching and manifestly adverse.

  1. Women have less dignity – In populations with unnaturally skewed [ratios], the very fact that many thousands—or in some cases, millions—of prospective girls and young women have been deliberately eliminated simply because they would have been female establishes a new social reality that inescapably colors the whole realm of human relationships, redefining the role of women as the disfavored sex in nakedly utilitarian terms, and indeed signaling that their very existence is now conditional and contingent.
  2. Lots of unmarried men spells trouble Moreover, enduring and extreme male to female imbalances set the demographic stage for an incipient “marriage squeeze” in affected populations, with notably reduced pools of potential future brides. China will transform from a country where, as of 2000, nearly all males (about 96 percent) had been married by their early 40s, to one in which nearly a quarter (23 percent) are projected to be never married as of 2040. Such a transformation augurs ill in a number of respects. For one thing, unmarried men appear to suffer greater health risks than their married counterparts….. Second, In a low-income society lacking sturdy and reliable national pension guarantees for the elderly, a steep rise in the proportion of unmarried and involuntarily childless men begs the question of old-age support for that rising cohort.
  3. Forced Prostitution, kidnapping and trafficking of women – Third, Economists such as Gary Becker and Judge Richard Posner have hypothesized that mass feticide, in making women scarce, will only increase their “value”—but in settings where the legal and personal rights of the individual are not secure and inviolable, the “rising value of women” can have perverse and unexpected consequences, including increased demand for prostitution and an upsurge in the kidnapping and trafficking of women (as is now being witnessed in some women-scarce areas in Asia)
  4. More problems with unmarried men –  Finally, there is the speculative question of the social impact of a sudden addition of a large cohort of young “excess males” to populations…. [D]epending on a given country’s cultural and institutional capabilities for coping with this challenge, such trends could quite conceivably lead to increased crime, violence, and social tensions—or possibly even a greater proclivity for social instability. (For a decidedly pessimistic but studied assessment of these prospects, see Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer’s 2004 book Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population.)

Mr Eberstadt concludes that the only why to end this practice of killing female babies in utero is for Medical and health care professionals—without whose assistance mass female feticide could not occur— to develop a conscience and understand that they have a special obligation to be front and center in ending this evil practice.

Evil is my word, not his, but I know of no better word to describe it. Consider the intersection (or shall we say collision) of murder, pride (for we play God), misogyny (for females are murderously hated in comparison to men), selfishness (for only the right baby is wanted), and government incursion,  and tell me if there is not a better word than evil to describe the practice of sex-selected abortion. It is a tangled web of deep confusion and abuse of power at every level and flows directly from the practice of abortion itself, and the prideful notion that we get to decide who lives and who dies.

I often sense the need to recall in our culture that many women and men feel driven to abortion out of fear and that we must compassionately assist them to find alternatives to abortion. I also work with project Rachael to help in the healing of women and men who have chosen to abort or who have helped to abort. But this sort of abortion (for sex-selection) is harder to understand.

Perhaps there are social pressures in the far East that I do not understand, but from my Western perspective, the use of abortion for sex-selection is most shocking and surely going to lead the Far East and other places it is practiced to real social harm and upheaval. I also have little doubt some use it here in the West as well, though not in numbers vast enough to shift the demographic balance of men and women.

For sowing in the wind, we are sure to reap the whirlwind. Please help us Lord, spare us from our stubbornness and stupidity.  Parce Domine, Parce nos! Deus, miserere!

In this video we hear of the first incursion of sex-selected abortion in this country. He also details how some women in the Far East are often pressured to abort female babies by men and other family members:

12 Replies to “Reaping the Whirlwind: A Reflection on the Global War Against Baby Girls and Its Social Implications”

  1. It should be noted that the disparity between boys and girls in China is a result not only of abortion, but also of abandoning girl babies or giving them up to orphanages. Many if not most of these babies are adopted by American families.

    It also should be noted that all those extra men could make for a large army. Without ties to spouse or children, such an army would have less to lose by taking on risky missions. The social instability of which you speak thus has global implications, and something that the UN and similar bodies should be watching very closely.

  2. Very SCARY situation. Godless world, selfish attitude. May God have mercy on this world.
    I am the parent of one daughter, two sons and 5 granddaughters (my married daughter’s children).
    I fear what the world has in store for them and pray for them daily.

  3. But Msgr.!,

    The “Journal of Medical Ethics” tells us all to get over it. Killing babies is o.k. “After-Birth Abortion: Why should the baby live?”

    “Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

  4. Msgr. Pope said “While not approving of the method necessarily, I suspect many are pleased that there are, as a result, fewer humans on the planet. Indeed, that is an essential goal of the culture of death, fewer people.”

    Let me remove any doubt you have. The Obama administration believes exactly that. A quote from earlier today.

    “The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

  5. What can one say?
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” ( Ephesians 6:12)
    If anyone doubted this, Well we now have proof.. at some level the above madness is satanic. We will need to be praying very very hard, because we are in very grave trouble.

  6. I recently posted something about this issue on Facebook and asked where was the feminist outcry. My sister, who is currently majoring in women’s studies said feminists *are* upset about it, but can’t do much. However, I tend to agree with what you said – this puts radical (perhaps secular?) feminists in a tight spot between abortion and gynocide. (I just made that word up.)

  7. I have some first hand experience in this issue as I am the only child of my Chinese mother. She had told me that she had wanted a son since it is harder to be a woman (physically weaker and so less able to defend oneself, social discrimination, having to cling onto a husband for financial support and if he treats you badly, you have little recourse in China back then, etc), she had wished for the only child she was allowed to have to be able to live a better life. Fortunately for me, no one knew I was a girl until I was born. I think that had the one child policy continued as is, people will eventually learn to value and appreciate girls. My parents love me and I had all the privileges of a son. But then the devil gave China the temptation and ability to abort with ultrasounds and abortion procedures.

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