A reader, Ilya, has this takeaway from our debate over sex-selective abortion:
I lean pro-choice, but I doff my hat to the pro-life camp for this deft maneuver. They have demonstrated that it is logically impossible to be both “pro-choice” and “anti-discrimination.” Why is this the case? Because “choice” and “discrimination” are the same thing.
But pro-life advocates are also put in a difficult spot, as Noah Berlatsky explains in a 2013 Atlantic post about a new documentary, It’s a Girl, which investigated the high rates of sex-selective abortion and infanticide in China and India. The film’s trailer presents a shocking finding: that those two countries “eliminate more girls [every year] than the number of girls born in America every year”:
In the film, Dr. Puneet Bedi argues that ultrasound and abortion has increased the ease of gendercide for wealthier people, and so has created unprecedented gender imbalances (140 boys to 100 girls, according to the film). Other sources, though, dispute that technology has made that much of a difference, arguing that before abortion, infanticide was simply more widespread. Either way, though, the point remains that the root of the problem is clearly not abortion per se, but widespread sexism and sexual violence—which puts pro-lifers, with their often explicitly anti-feminist rhetoric, in an awkward position.
A reader today makes a similar point: