If you are concerned about gender discrimination—that is, discrimination against girls and women—what would you do? Would you work to ensure that girls and women had equal access to education, training, and jobs; equal pay; equal rights in marriage; equal rights in inheritance; and access to justice, support, and redress if they are sexually abused or raped or beaten up?
Or would you investigate every woman of Asian descent to find out whether they may have had an abortion because the fetus was female, and investigate all the doctors who provide abortions to find out if they have ever allowed Asian women to have such an abortion—and prosecute them all as if they were deadly criminals and social outcasts?
Which of these alternatives would be more effective in combatting discrimination against girls and women, do you think? The former, of course.
Why is it, then, that the Daily Telegraph, UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, and now the Independent, in the name of opposition to gender discrimination, appear to be pursuing the latter course
, with all the fervor of knights on white horses?
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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The answer is simple: The Telegraph and
Hunt, at least, are opposed to abortion, and they think they have finally found the perfect approach for restricting it, one which appears to support women’s rights. They have even succeeded in bringing a lot of people who otherwise support women’s right to a safe, legal abortion onto their side, including the Independent, it seems, by demonizing abortion on the grounds of sex selection.
Their position raises a number of questions. First and foremost, their stance supports fetal rights. That is, it supports the right of a fetus to be born if it is female, which raises the question: Can you support the right of even one fetus to be born, and still support women’s right to have an abortion?
And if it is wrong to abort a fetus because it is female, is it not also wrong to abort a fetus if it is male? Surely, that would also be gender discrimination. Similarly, if it is wrong to abort a fetus because it has a serious genetic anomaly, is it not also wrong to abort a fetus that appears to be healthy?
Lastly, if in some cases, abortion should not be a woman’s right to choose—for herself and for her own reasons—then who shall have the right to tell her when and on what grounds she
must carry her pregnancy to term, affecting the rest of her life? Jeremy Hunt? Pope Francis? Her husband? Her doctor? If there is still a debate to be had around this issue in the UK, then this is what it should be about.
Meanwhile, what has been going on since the Telegraph‘s sex-selective abortion sting last year is a witch hunt against abortion providers that is now threatening to become the equivalent of stop-and-search against Asian women—that is, unwarranted, racist harassment and discrimination against them, because they are women.