Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortion


3:28 pm - February 25th 2012

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contribution by Iman Qureshi

Since the Telegraph’s rather flimsy, inconclusive and suspiciously opportunistic investigation into sex-specific abortions at private health clinics, the pro-life brigade has been claiming that such atrocities are only occurring because of such free access to abortion.
 
Understandably, pro-choicers are on the defensive, but it is dismaying to see that they are flailing with their responses.

Some argue that the difference between abortion and sex specific abortion is that the former is an autonomous decision whereas the latter is a result of social or cultural pressure.

Assumptions about sex-specific abortions being carried out by people whose cultures put pressure on them to have boys are naïve and dangerous.
 
Not only is there little evidence from the Telegraph’s investigation to support this, but it also blames culture fallaciously.

It is important to recognize that even in countries where the practice of sex-selective abortions and infanticide are widespread, it is due mainly to the socio-economic climate where girls are seen as less lucrative than boys, rather than an intrinsic gender bias in the culture.
 
However, even it was a case of cultural norms, to say that a woman is denied her autonomy because of the pressure put on her by her culture is erroneous, presumptuous and patronizing.

In some instances this is the case, but how is it different from a woman who is coerced into an abortion by a reluctant partner, regardless of culture? No decision is ever truly autonomous, and ‘pressure’ comes from all angles, be it cultural, financial, or a fear of parenting.
 
Making culture the scapegoat serves no purpose except igniting more unwarranted scorn towards the ‘cultures’ of the UK.
 
Pro-choice activists need to be careful in how they draw the lines between abortion and sex-selective abortion – while one is unbiased, the other is not; sex-selective abortion verges on eugenics as it is a manipulation of the human population along the lines of sex. Here-in lies the moral difference between the two – it is nothing to do with cultural pressure versus autonomy.
 
As a result, sex-specific abortion is despicable and illegal, and should remain so without encroaching on abortion rights or blaming cultures unfairly.

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Reader comments


1. Not an economist

“Since the Telegraph’s rather flimsy, inconclusive and suspiciously opportunistic investigation into sex-specific abortions taking place at private health clinics”

HEY HEY HEY LOOK OVER THERE *whistle*

@1 Yep, this undercover investigation does look like an attempt to distract from things like comparing the number of vacancies to unemployment figures, workfare, general economic incompetence, NHS reforms. Much better that we all concentrate on Nadine Dorries and Baroness Warsi’s attempts to import the culture war from the states.

So, are we saying that making a choice about not having a baby because the mother (for whatever reason) does not want _any_ baby is fine, but making a choice about not having a baby because of some aspect of the baby is not fine?

How about people who choose not to have children because tests show they might be disabled? Which side of the line does that fall?

4. Chaise Guevara

“As a result, sex-specific abortion is despicable and illegal, and should remain so without encroaching on abortion rights”

Could be tricky, that.

An unwanted pregnancy is an unwanted pregnancy, whatever the reason(s). The negative impact on a child’s life re being unwanted, remains, again whatever the reason. Most abortion decisions are based on more than one factor & it is too simplistic (not to mention incendiary) to blame cultural pressures for sex-specific abortions. Whatever the reasons I believe the welfare of the mother (in my view the existing life – as opposed to any potential life) should be of primary concern.

As a result, sex-specific abortion is … illegal, and should remain so without encroaching on abortion rights

How do you square that circle?

(I have no idea.)

7. the a&e charge nurse

“abortions and infanticide are widespread” – is there a difference between abortion and infanticide – if so could you explain?

How can anybody claim to be pro-choice yet against sex selection – such a position just doesn’t make sense amongst those who align themselves with a woman’s right to choose.

“It is important to recognize that even in countries where the practice of sex-selective abortions and infanticide are widespread, it is due mainly to the socio-economic climate where girls are seen as less lucrative than boys, rather than an intrinsic gender bias in the culture.”

So there *is* an intrinsic bias then, one based on the commodification of children. You don’t think this is at all alarming?

The culture warriors of the American right wing have suffered a slight retreat this week. After trying to pass a law that would force every woman to forcibly have an ultrasound probe inserted in their vagina who wanted an abortion the governor of Virginia has backed down after, even republicans said this went too far.

One has to Marvell at the hypocrisy of the so called libertarian, small govt Republicans supporting what was effectively State sponsored Rape. And with the Catholic Church no trying to stop woman from getting contraception on their healthcare plans, open war against womans rights is now well under way.

As I have said many times on here, anti abortion is NOT about pro life. It is about punishing woman who have sex for reasons other than procreation. In fact Rick Santorum, who is fast replacing Romney as the Republican front runner supports exactly that position.

It is important to recognize that even in countries where the practice of sex-selective abortions and infanticide are widespread, it is due mainly to the socio-economic climate where girls are seen as less lucrative than boys

Maybe, but that doesn’t mean such practices don’t have a ‘cultural’ explanation when they are practised here in the UK.

The clothes worn by farmers in Kashmir are no doubt worn for practical reasons. But when they are worn in Bradford – where thy have no practical advantages – they are seen as ‘cultural’ sartorial choices.

Pro-choice activists need to be careful in how they draw the lines between abortion and sex-selective abortion – while one is unbiased, the other is not; sex-selective abortion verges on eugenics as it is a manipulation of the human population along the lines of sex. Here-in lies the moral difference between the two…

Are people against “biased” abortions now? Odd. I’ve heard nobody complain about the fact that 92% of foetuses diagnosed with down’s syndrome are aborted. And that’s been known for at least a decade.

Thing is, though, I’m surprised to hear pro choicers say that some abortions are “despicable” and worth prohibiting. They’ve always said that it’s the woman’s choice, regardless of others’ perception of the ethics of their choice, yet, apparently, that’s not true if they’re “biased”. Perhaps Judith Jarvis Thompson should have changed her “famous violinist” thought experiment to add that you couldn’t separate yourself the violinist if it was because they were a woman.

12. the a&e charge nurse

“Some argue that the difference between abortion and sex specific abortion is that the former is an autonomous decision whereas the latter is a result of social or cultural pressure” – are you seriously arguing that social or cultural pressures do not affect decision making in abortion cases – perhaps you need to have a look at this?

“Worldwide, the most commonly reported reason women cite for having an abortion is to postpone or stop childbearing. The second most common reason—socioeconomic concerns—includes disruption of education or employment; lack of support from the father; desire to provide schooling for existing children; and poverty, unemployment or inability to afford additional children. In addition, relationship problems with a husband or partner and a woman’s perception that she is too young constitute other important categories of reasons.”
(Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: Evidence from 27 Countries).
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2411798.html

13. Abdul Abulbul Emir

Mrs A says

(waxing lyrical)

‘We humans are so destructive. If we’re not killing others we kill our own children then ourselves’.

I don’t where you get these ideas I say.

Have you been at the Nietzsche again woman ?

Peace

14. someone whose comments will be censored any time now

hahahaha

Nothing more enjoyable than seeing lefty morons tie themselves in knots trying to defend the indefensible. Although I guess seeing the total SILENCE from the Guardian sisterhood is quite amusing too.

The sheer cowardice of the Let regarding this topic is highly instructive.

We don’t need to make the culture a scapegoat. Culture is the fundamental cause, so no one needs to make it appear any worse than it is. If you think it is bad to abort girls, that is.

I find this OP and supporting discussion really strange: how it is perfectly OK to have an abortion, no questions asked, for any reason, because it is the choice of the woman… except if the reason for that choice is based on the sex of the child. But if the woman faces social resentment, or worse, even abuse and death threats, if her child is of the wrong sex, then surely an abortion is *better* grounded than in far more common cases of “I’m not ready to have a child now, I have a right to choose to not have a child now.”

@ pjt

“if the woman faces social resentment, or worse, even abuse and death threats, if her child is of the wrong sex, then surely an abortion is *better* grounded than in far more common cases of “I’m not ready to have a child now, I have a right to choose to not have a child now.””

I think this may be the best case *against* allowing sex selective abortions I’ve yet heard. If sex selective abortion were legally and readily available, presumably women giving birth to girls would face *more* of the sort of vilification you describe – because they’d be seen as having made a deliberate choice to have that baby rather than aborting it. Hence the pressure on women to abort girls would increase, and their ability to exercise free choice would decrease. (That’s how the argument would run, anyway – how persuasive that argument was would depend on how much pressure women were actually likely to be put under to go against their own wishes. You sometimes hear similar arguments put forward against euthanasia – if you give people the freedom to choose to die, they end up *less* free because they can then be put under pressure to make that choice.)

17. Dick the Prick

Could I just say, as a bloke, it’s none of my business.

If the woman wanted the baby but was forced to have it aborted for cultural reasons that would be wrong. Nothing was said about such an event in the Telegraph but it would appear to be the assumption some people are making.

The Telegraph are doing some stirring and it’s making some noise. Better they were ignored and that the attacks on the NHS, welfare and legal aid remain our focus for the time being.

Making culture the scapegoat serves no purpose except igniting more unwarranted scorn towards the ‘cultures’ of the UK.

I feel that the OP is being a little too defensive of ”culture”.
We don’t defend backward culture in the form of FGM or forced marriages, so what’s the big deal about this? People can have abortions for cultural reasons as much as anything else. We should hardly pretend that just because people live in one part of the world that some backward cultural practices won’t follow from somewhere else.
They do quite often.
Maybe we should allow people to have the abortions they want and keep our noses out of people’s private business.
This can be two things at the same time …. backward – but private – because it’s not hurting anyone else.

Let’s see. A muslim writes an article trying to protect cultures that demean the position of women and which want sex-selective abortions.

Let’s not demean those cultures though. They are doing a great job demeaning themselves with their clerical fascist party going unopposed every year, with their frequent calls to have homosexuals killed, with their 200 brothers (and some sisters) in prison for terrorism in Britain, with their thousands of girls every year being subjected to genital mutilation, with the multiple paedophile pimping gangs being finally prosecuted after a decade when the police and politicians and the media looked the other way.

Sure. Let’s cut them some slack when it comes to sex-selective abortions. I’ll add Iman Qureshi to my list of shills for islam, who pretends to be concerned for liberal issues.

@Damon “We don’t defend backward culture in the form of FGM or forced marriages, so what’s the big deal about this?”

Standing idly by whilst thousands of girls suffer genital mutilation is just fine by LibCon, is it? The first law against FGM was introduced in 1985 (strange isn’t it, that girls never needed protection from this backwards cultural practice before). Almost 20 years later, a 2nd law was introduced (2003), because no-one had been prosecuted under the 1st law.

And here we are, almost a decade after the 2nd law, and still no-one’s been prosecuted. The government says 15,000 girls a year are at risk of FGM. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/fgm/

The the fact that there has been ineffective policing/prosecution of these crimes for 25 years is just fine with the radical liberals here. I’m sure if 15,000 muslim men were being mutilated by gangs of white men each year, you wouldn’t smugly accept it, the way you do with these little girls.

22. Chaise Guevara

“Standing idly by whilst thousands of girls suffer genital mutilation is just fine by LibCon, is it?”

Sigh. First, Damon is not the Metatron of Lib Con. Secondly, he’s saying we DON’T stand by when this sort of thing happens. Read what he says before you take offence.

” The first law against FGM was introduced in 1985 (strange isn’t it, that girls never needed protection from this backwards cultural practice before). Almost 20 years later, a 2nd law was introduced (2003), because no-one had been prosecuted under the 1st law. ”

Marital rape wasn’t banned until the nineties, I hear. Strange that people didn’t need defending from marital rape before then, eh?

“And here we are, almost a decade after the 2nd law, and still no-one’s been prosecuted. The government says 15,000 girls a year are at risk of FGM. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/fgm/

Around 60 million people a year are at risk of being mugged, yet we don’t arrest 60 million muggers. “At risk” is pretty much meaningless for the point you’re trying to make. Why aren’t people prosecuted? Because the victims are young, and the criminals are probably supported by their friends and family. It’s hard for the police to deal with crimes that aren’t reported in the first place.

“The the fact that there has been ineffective policing/prosecution of these crimes for 25 years is just fine with the radical liberals here.”

Really? Could you name three specific “radical liberals” espousing this view?

“I’m sure if 15,000 muslim men were being mutilated by gangs of white men each year, you wouldn’t smugly accept it, the way you do with these little girls.”

Same question: give me some examples of liberals on LC “smugly accepting” FGM.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 damon

“I feel that the OP is being a little too defensive of ”culture”.
We don’t defend backward culture in the form of FGM or forced marriages, so what’s the big deal about this? People can have abortions for cultural reasons as much as anything else. We should hardly pretend that just because people live in one part of the world that some backward cultural practices won’t follow from somewhere else.
They do quite often.”

Yeah, agreed. In fact, almost any underlying reason for sex-selective abortion is going to link back into culture one way or another, isn’t it? If the OP wants culture left out of it, they’d be better off saying that laying blame isn’t really relevant to whether or not this practice should be illegal.

Man, where was this article when this was posted?

“Pro-choice activists need to be careful in how they draw the lines between abortion and sex-selective abortion – while one is unbiased, the other is not; sex-selective abortion verges on eugenics as it is a manipulation of the human population along the lines of sex. Here-in lies the moral difference between the two”

But abortions are frequently carried out because of potential disability (including minor and easily rectifiable deformity like cleft palate). What’s that if not eugenic?

26. So Much For Subtlety

22. Chaise Guevara

Marital rape wasn’t banned until the nineties, I hear. Strange that people didn’t need defending from marital rape before then, eh?

Actually people did, they just realised the problems with trying to ban it. However the main point here is surely your immediate descent into whatabouttery. What useful point does this silly comment raise? You mean no one suffered FGM before marital rape was illegal?

Around 60 million people a year are at risk of being mugged, yet we don’t arrest 60 million muggers.

Muggers != People at risk of being mugged. We could arrest 60,000 muggers and the problem would more or less go away. Because they are a minority.

“At risk” is pretty much meaningless for the point you’re trying to make. Why aren’t people prosecuted? Because the victims are young, and the criminals are probably supported by their friends and family. It’s hard for the police to deal with crimes that aren’t reported in the first place.

And perhaps these crimes are not even taking place. A girl at risk is not, as you point out, the same as a girl who has been mutilated. We will have to wait 18 years or so until a generation has grown up in the UK and is complaining.

I am not sure about LC but it is undeniable that some radicals, even some feminists, defend FGM. Either openly or they want you do – by whatabouttery. Germaine Greer for instance.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 26 SMFS

“Actually people did, they just realised the problems with trying to ban it. However the main point here is surely your immediate descent into whatabouttery.”

Reductio ad absurdum, actually. But thanks for playing!

“What useful point does this silly comment raise? You mean no one suffered FGM before marital rape was illegal?”

No, of course I bloody don’t. I mean that people suffered from FGM before it was illegal, and that people suffered from marital rape before it was illegal, too. In other words, our friend above is wrong to assume that something isn’t a problem until it’s legislated against.

“Muggers != People at risk of being mugged. We could arrest 60,000 muggers and the problem would more or less go away. Because they are a minority.”

Agreed. But my point isn’t that we need to arrest a criminal for each victim, it’s that you can get any hyperbolic stat you like by working out the maximum possible number of people “at risk” of some fate or another. We’re all at risk of various things, all of the time, because perfect safety does not exist. Six billion people are at risk of being hit on the head by a random meteorite! You can panic now!

“And perhaps these crimes are not even taking place. A girl at risk is not, as you point out, the same as a girl who has been mutilated. We will have to wait 18 years or so until a generation has grown up in the UK and is complaining.”

Yes, and that’s really shit. It’s horrible. But what’s your point here? I’m not saying we *should* wait 18 years, I’m just explaining why it’s difficult to investigate crimes that aren’t reported in the first place. I’m speaking factually, not ideologically. If I was speaking ideologically I’d say that everyone guilty of forcing FGM upon a girl should be behind bars, because they should. However, my hatred of FGM does not magically imbue the police with the power to detect it.

“I am not sure about LC but it is undeniable that some radicals, even some feminists, defend FGM. Either openly or they want you do – by whatabouttery. Germaine Greer for instance.”

I’m sure they do. And they are, to a man, utter cunts, or at least complacent idiots. You won’t find me defending FGM by whataboutery or any other method. It’s horrific and evil and brutal, and we should fight it where we’re able.

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 25 Laban Tall

“But abortions are frequently carried out because of potential disability (including minor and easily rectifiable deformity like cleft palate). What’s that if not eugenic?”

Personal. As in, people don’t want to bring up a disabled kid. They’re not thinking about the future of the human race when they do it, I’m guessing. That said, the same applies to sex-selective abortion, so the OP’s point is also bullshit.

@James Lovelace – I associate abortion of girls with India (mostly Hindu) and China, not with Muslim countries.

I’m not completely convinced by the OP, but I think that’s perhaps because I’m just slightly ambivalent about this issue generally – I agree with those who have raised the awkward parallel with abortions for very minor disabilities. To be fair to the Telegraph, I think they would pounce on that sort of news item too.

30. the a&e charge nurse

[29] “slightly ambivalent” not even ambivalent, just slightly so?

I wonder if those who drafted the abortion legislation realised it wouldn’t take that long before termination, purely on the grounds of gender, would arouse no more feeling than ‘slight ambivalence’ – if that’s not a cultural shift I don’t know what is.

31. someone whose comments will be censored any time now

“Could I just say, as a bloke, it’s none of my business.”

Possibly the densest piece of cowardice I’ve read here. Well done.

I mean – I am slightly ambivalent about the issue of abortion, not simply the issue of gender related abortion. Zealous positions on both sides make me uneasy.

I’m sorry, but seeing liberals tie themselves in knots over this is becoming painful to watch. If you support a woman’s right to choose, then you should support a woman’s right to choose regardless of their motivation.
If you’re really concerned about sexual selection, then rather than compelling women to be pregnant, perhaps tackling the inequalities of society & culture might be a better goal? You know, remove the reasons why sexual selection gets chosen in the first place.
Just a thought.

“As a result, sex-specific abortion is despicable and illegal, and should remain so without encroaching on abortion rights”

As several have pionted out, difficult to do really. Given that there are those who insistt hat tit is the mother’s choice and the mother’s alone, it’s not really possible to insist upon that and then say that the presence or not of a willy isn’t a good enough reason.

Either there is that absolute freedom to abort or there are restrictions upon that freedm. And if sex selection is one of those restrictions then the next conversation to be had is, OK, so, what other restrictions could/would/might be justified.

Club foot? Cleft palate? 22 weeks? 12 weeks? Conception?

Yes, I know, I’m terribly out of step here but just as a piece of simple logic, if there’s one exception to the insistence that it is only the mother’s choice then we really have breached that damn and thus it’s entirely righteous to discuss what the other restrictions on that choice might possibly be.

“Odd. I’ve heard nobody complain about the fact that 92% of foetuses diagnosed with down’s syndrome are aborted.”

Allow me to introduce you to one. Me.

Yes, I know, I really am terribly out of step with modern opinion on this one.

Personal. As in, people don’t want to bring up a disabled kid. They’re not thinking about the future of the human race when they do it, I’m guessing. That said, the same applies to sex-selective abortion, so the OP’s point is also bullshit.

And, besides, I fail to see the necessary ethical distinction between committing an act for the “good” of society and committing it for the “good” of oneself. I think people are down with the latter ‘cos it sounds all liberal n’ stuff and hate the former ‘cos it sounds all Nazi n’ shit.

I’d like to see the OP writer Iman Qureshi expand on her thoughts a bit because I really didn’t get it that well. It was just a newspaper article and hasn’t done any lasting damage to anyone, but it was the thing about defending culture that I found intriguing.
Culture is neutral isn’t it? Not necessarily good or bad, but can be both.

If it was saying ”let’s not have this as just more Asian bashing” then I’d be more understanding of the point.
My (Irish) mum’s long time Indian lodger just had an arranged marriage. She married an Indian doctor who like her, had been living in the UK for several years.
She’d been looking for a suitable husband for some time, and as a strong Hindu and Brahminn, his cast was certainly something for the families to consider.
They went back to India for the wedding, and what a happy story.
It was their culture and no one else’s business if a dowry was paid or any arangements the families came to, even if a persom might not really approve of such customs.

37. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 BenSix

“I aborted my female foetus because I wanted a boy” does sound less creepy than “I aborted my female foetus because men are more valuable to society”, I’ll admit.

Sex-selective abortion makes me uncomfortable, but I don’t know if personal preference in one instance counts as prejudice or not. I mean, at what point in the following progression does prejudice kick in?

1) A bloke joins a dating agency and unselects Asians (for example) from his searches as he doesn’t really find Asian people attractive.
2) Someone sets up a “white people looking for white people” website, which excludes Asians and all other non-whites by the house rules.
3) Someone sets up an “Anyone who isn’t Asian” dating website.
4) The government for some reason bans Asians from using dating websites.

1 definitely seems ok to me. 4 is obviously wrong. Weirdly, I’m comfortable with 2 but not 3, despite the fact that I can’t fathom any important difference between them. I think it’s to do with the difference between being exclusive within a group and specifically excluding a specific other group.

Ffs, this is as impressive a display of ‘liberal’ doublethink as I have ever seen.

It is important to recognize that even in countries where the practice of sex-selective abortions and infanticide are widespread, it is due mainly to the socio-economic climate where girls are seen as less lucrative than boys, rather than an intrinsic gender bias in the culture.

The reason girls are seen as ‘less lucrative’ is precisely because of that gender bias. If women are denied property rights, or the right to work, or even to learn, and if they are considered first of all as the property of their fathers, then their husbands, its no wonder they are considered ‘less lucrative’. Unless you consider those factors as entirely seperate from ‘culture’ your argument doesn’t even begin to make sense. The fact that abortion of female fetuses continues among cultural groups even when they have relocated to countries where discrimination is not enforceable by law demonstrates it is cultural, not economic.

As a result, sex-specific abortion is despicable and illegal, and should remain so without encroaching on abortion rights or blaming cultures unfairly.

As already pointed out, a ban on sex-specific abortion is precisely an encroachment on abortion rights.

And if you think that female abortion is eugenics while abortion of a fetus with a disibility is not, maybe you should ask the deaf community what they think of that.

There’s no win-win situation here. Women’s reproductive rights trump other objections, whatever we think of their reasons for termination. If you want them to stop selection on the grounds of sex you have to tackle the cultural values that dictate that a girl (or a child with a disability) is a burden rather than a precious gift.

39. So Much For Subtlety

35. BenSix

And, besides, I fail to see the necessary ethical distinction between committing an act for the “good” of society and committing it for the “good” of oneself. I think people are down with the latter ‘cos it sounds all liberal n’ stuff and hate the former ‘cos it sounds all Nazi n’ shit.

Although the irony is that these people tend to be the ones who believe in socialism and get upset if you tell them it can’t work because people don’t make sacrifices for the good of society. Due to people being selfish individualists. They insist they will, it is right they will, and it is right that the State make them.

Just not all sacrifices it seems.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 SMFS

“Although the irony is that these people tend to be the ones who believe in socialism and get upset if you tell them it can’t work because people don’t make sacrifices for the good of society. Due to people being selfish individualists.”

Does socialism rely on people being unselfish? I’d agree that wide-eyed idealist version of communism do this (“everyone will pull together for the good of the revolution!”) as do versions of libertarianism that claim that private charity would cover for the welfare state in a laissez-faire system. But socialism covers for the needy via tax – if anything, I’d say it was a solution to the problem if individual selfishness.

“They insist they will, it is right they will, and it is right that the State make them.”

Seems incohorent – as socialists approve of the state making people help the vulnerable, how do you figure that they “insist” that people will make willing sacrifices for the good of society?

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 38 Shatterface

“And if you think that female abortion is eugenics while abortion of a fetus with a disibility is not, maybe you should ask the deaf community what they think of that.”

Agreed – while abortion of a foetus with an inheritable disability *can* be eugenics (I’d say it depends on your reasons for the abortion), I can’t see how sex-selective abortion possibly could be. As I understand the term, the point of eugenics is to take “undesirable” elements out of the gene pool, whether through murder, abortion, sterilisation or any other method. You can’t do that with gender, at least at the level we’re talking about.

That’s doesn’t mean that sex-selective abortion is all fine and dandy, of course, just that it doesn’t seem like eugenics.

42. So Much For Subtlety

40. Chaise Guevara

Does socialism rely on people being unselfish? I’d agree that wide-eyed idealist version of communism do this (“everyone will pull together for the good of the revolution!”) as do versions of libertarianism that claim that private charity would cover for the welfare state in a laissez-faire system. But socialism covers for the needy via tax – if anything, I’d say it was a solution to the problem if individual selfishness.

But that is hardly socialism. That is a welfare state. It dilutes socialism to the point of meaningless. It is, at best, Blairism. Even then the tax system relies on people being honest. Altruistic. The Greeks show that when people don’t want to pay tax, they don’t pay tax. The British do – although I think less and less all the time. So far it is relatively easy to get them to do it too. You ask nicely and they pay. The tiny number of people who don’t can be deterred by an even tinier number of audits. Can’t work that way in Greece. So if the welfare state does not reflect the values of the tax payers, and it doesn’t, it cannot last for long.

Seems incohorent – as socialists approve of the state making people help the vulnerable, how do you figure that they “insist” that people will make willing sacrifices for the good of society?

Come on Chaise. Do you know anyone around here who thinks socialists’ views are largely incoherent? I assume they reconcile their beliefs with the view that the compulsion is for the few, the tiny few, of die hard reactionaries. But I don’t know. Ask them. But you can hear both arguments from the same person, often in the same post, all the time.

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 SMFS

“But that is hardly socialism. That is a welfare state.”

Most people seem to think support for the welfare state and socialism are the same thing (or, more precisely: the more you support the welfare state, the more socialist you are). What definition of socialism are you using here? If you mean communism then we’re at cross-purposes.

“Come on Chaise. Do you know anyone around here who thinks socialists’ views are largely incoherent?”

Whether or not socialist have incoherent views is irrelevant to the fact that your comment appears incoherent. It seems to rely on the assumptions that a) socialist force people to pay tax and b) socialist don’t force people to pay tax. Maybe I’m misreading you, but if so I think the reasonable thing for you to do is explain how.

“I assume they reconcile their beliefs with the view that the compulsion is for the few, the tiny few, of die hard reactionaries. But I don’t know. Ask them.”

Well, I’m one by my definition of the word, so I’ll ask myself. Nope, don’t hold that view. I really doubt that the majority of people would pay an equal or greater amount of tax (or donate that much money to charities) if it were voluntary.

“But you can hear both arguments from the same person, often in the same post, all the time.”

Yes, but at that point you’re not arguing with socialism, you’re arguing with an individual who has failed to make an honest and coherent argument. Once again I have to point out your tendency to attack ideas you dislike by going after the weakest arguments for them.

Shatterface @38 – great comment.

45. Robin Levett

@cylux #33:

I’m sorry, but seeing liberals tie themselves in knots over this is becoming painful to watch. If you support a woman’s right to choose, then you should support a woman’s right to choose regardless of their motivation.

Another one who isn’t familiar with the saying attrbuted to Voltaire. One can criticise the use to which rights are put without denying that the rights do, or should, exist.

From the OP:

sex-specific abortion is…illegal

No it isn’t. An abortion carried out without compliance with one of the conditions of the Abortion Act 1967 is illegal. A woman’s motivation for abortion – whatever it may be – doesn’t affect the legality of the abortion if it otherwise complies with the Act.

“even in countries where the practice of sex-selective abortions and infanticide are widespread, it is due mainly to the socio-economic climate where girls are seen as less lucrative than boys, rather than an intrinsic gender bias in the culture.”

I’m not gender biased, I just think girls are worth less money than boys. Waitaminute

47. the a&e charge nurse

Unsurprisingly these developments have arisen here in the private sector – as they say, the customer is always right.

Other vulnerable groups must be worried?
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aFzmYT1u5B0/TiCjlezf9mI/AAAAAAAABEQ/o1A-b3juMYs/s1600/ginger-baby.jpg

Agreed – while abortion of a foetus with an inheritable disability *can* be eugenics (I’d say it depends on your reasons for the abortion), I can’t see how sex-selective abortion possibly could be. As I understand the term, the point of eugenics is to take “undesirable” elements out of the gene pool, whether through murder, abortion, sterilisation or any other method. You can’t do that with gender, at least at the level we’re talking about.

You’re right, remove a duplicate 21st chromosome completely and its eugenics, remove the double X chromosome and its suicide.

49. the a&e charge nurse

Hey, Sunny – you approve the right of abortion at 39 weeks – how about after termination after the baby is born?

Medical ethicists Alberto Giubilini & Francesca Minerva claim; “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.
http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/02/22/medethics-2011-100411.abstract

Killing newborns – sounds a bit old testament to me.
Can’t access the full article so unsure at what point these commentators think a baby goes from potential to actual personhood – even so, if you approve of terminating at 39 weeks, why not 42 or 44 weeks?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortions – http://t.co/dTz2qgrw says @ImanQureshi

  2. Michele HK

    Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortions – http://t.co/dTz2qgrw says @ImanQureshi

  3. Will S...

    Paragraph six is a brilliant piece of doublespeak http://t.co/OjZQv7iV

  4. keith ferguson

    Liberal Conspiracy – Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortion http://t.co/tdmHPKz2

  5. Clementine O'Connor

    Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortions – http://t.co/dTz2qgrw says @ImanQureshi

  6. Abortion Rights

    RT @sunny_hundal: Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortions – http://t.co/0eANtR0H says @ImanQureshi

  7. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Let’s not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortion http://t.co/3VWoOrrc

  8. SPUC prolife

    "[P]ro-choicers flailing with their responses" to sex-selective #abortion scandal, says leading left-wing blog http://t.co/DfBkeqmB

  9. Chantell Dawn Snyder

    "[P]ro-choicers flailing with their responses" to sex-selective #abortion scandal, says leading left-wing blog http://t.co/DfBkeqmB

  10. Síle Ní Thréinfhir

    "[P]ro-choicers flailing with their responses" to sex-selective #abortion scandal, says leading left-wing blog http://t.co/DfBkeqmB

  11. Arts & Culture Group

    Let's not make culture the scapegoat in sex selective abortion …: Assumptions about sex-specific abortions bei… http://t.co/CF9MhBBP





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