This is the book I mentioned earlier today. And I must say, I think I underestimated its importance. Gender selection and the imbalance of sex ratio at birth is a huge issue -- a global epidemic, unaddressed -- and Hvistendahl's work is impressive. She's done her data crunching, her interviews, her reading and traveling, and she knows what she's talking about.
If I didn't know otherwise already, I'd think she was pro-life. She's clearly appalled at the whole gender selection trend, and sympathizes with doctors and activists in India who want it stopped. She's dumb-founded at what drives this: consumer demand. Women want male children, pure and simple, and they'll go to great lengths to get one. Fifty years ago, they'd have a passel of girls, if that's what it took to get a son eventually. But now, with the bizarrely coincidental arrival of one-child policies, easy abortions and ultrasound technology (thank you, G.E.), why bother with the passel of girls?
Gender selection in countries like China, India, Taiwan, Albania, Georgia, South Korea, and many others, is huge business. Societies with too many males eventually demonstrate more violence, the sale of women as wives, and a disturbing group of "surplus men," usually in the lower classes. These nations are borrowing trouble, at steep interest rates. The situation is economic, political, cultural and -- disastrous. Some countries are still in denial, which will make correction of the problem much harder to implement. Hopefully this book will assist in reversing this trend.
But I've strayed away from Hvistendahl. She wants, above all, to preserve the right to abortion. She fears that the abuse of abortion for gender selection will give pro-life activists a new weapon in their arsenal. She's alarmed at the cultural damage done by too many males. But she does not mourn the deaths of 160,000 girls. Their absence simply produces a threatening imbalance. Thus, she fights gender selection abortions not to save the lives of little girls, but to preserve a "right."
As Adam said to me, what kind of person fights for a right, but won't fight for the person the right is supposedly for? I have never understood this warped logic of the pro-abortion crowd. Hvistendahl's book is a 336-page treatise propounding this warped logic. Population control folks have said that gender selection on female babies not only removes that one child from the population, but removes a potential child-producer; this is an asset, in their view. So they fully understand that that baby girl in the womb would be a woman someday. She has no rights at all, to abortion or anything else.
I'm enjoying hearing this author blow up her own position at every turn, showing the poverty and disgrace of allowing society to choose murder. If there's more to say on this, you can be sure I'll let you know.