Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, May 31, 2012 :::

There was a bill in the House to ban sex-selective abortion in the United States, and I'm not clear (again, in the United States) why this should cut any differently than any bill generically making abortion harder to obtain. Imagine two otherwise indistinguishable pregnancies, each of a woman wishing to terminate it:
  1. one has an older son and wants to get rid of a boy baby because she now wants a girl
  2. the other woman is afraid that going through with the pregnancy would "ruin her figure"
If one and only one gets the abortion, and I'm asked to choose which one, I would very much find the microsociological reason more compelling, especially from a moral standpoint.  If I felt that many of the least justified abortions were sex-selective, I wouldn't let the fact that some less justified abortions would be allowed while more justified ones were being banned, but I don't think this even has a strong numbers case of that sort going for it.

It would be more compelling to me, especially from a legal standpoint, if it had a trigger based on sex-ratios at birth or one-year; perhaps if the secretary of HHS certifies that the ratio is outside some range, then sex-selective abortions that exacerbate that ratio would be banned.  In India and China, the large-scale selective abortion of girls is causing society-wide problems in a way that they wouldn't if it were balanced, and this feels like the kind of thing that justifies (even federal) government action independently of "you're killing helpless innocent human beings".  With the abortions balanced, I don't see that this reason should be particularly relevant to the legality of the action.

::: posted by dWj at 12:25 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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