Sex Selection and Abortion

News that an at-home test to determine the sex of an unborn child is being marketed by a Texas company is causing angst among some pro-abortion advocates.

That’s because it is feared such tests will trigger many abortions, if they indicate the unborn baby is a girl. A preference for boys exists among both men and women across almost all cultures, and it is especially strong in some Asian countries, where sex-selective abortions have already given rise to serious demographic imbalances.

However, it’s hard to see how anyone with a pro-abortion mentality can come up with a coherent case against sex-selective abortions. If you believe abortion is a legitimate “choice” that ultimately rests only with the mother, then how can you object to any reason she has for wanting to abort?

And if the growing life in a woman’s womb is held to be merely part of her body, not a distinct human life of its own, the case against sex-selective abortion is further undermined. Having ceded this point (against all the biological evidence that conclusively demonstrates a new human life is created at the moment of conception), then there isn’t even a reason to object to the killing of unborn girls.

They aren’t “girls” at all, according to this argument. They are merely lumps of flesh that are part of the mother that have the “potential” to become girls if and when they are born.

There’s also the practical reality that it’s utterly impossible to prevent a pregnant woman from having a sex-selection abortion anywhere there is a legal framework of on-demand abortion. That’s because there is no way of knowing her true reason for having the abortion, if she chooses to keep it private.

None of this is meant to suggest sex-selective abortion is good, or justifiable, or that there aren’t legitimate reasons to be concerned about at-home tests that determine the sex of an unborn child. Sex-selective abortions are gravely sinful and wrong in all cases, as are all other abortions, and the availability of the at-home tests worries pro-lifers because they could result in the killing of unborn children who otherwise wouldn’t be aborted.

But only by recognizing the universal evil of all abortions can a persuasive case be made against the more particular evil of sex-selective abortion.