NUMBERS OF SUPPOSEDLY [within the UK] CULTURALLY DRIVEN SEX SELECTIVE ABORTION SUGGEST THAT IT DOESNT HAPPEN.
I HAVE NO ARGUMENT WITH THAT.
BUT TWO ASIANS HAVE WRITTEN IN A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER THAT IT DOES.
THIS IS MY RESPONSE.

Trigger warnings. Race. Abortion. Rape.

That’s a term that’s reared its ugly head again.
Usually tagged nicely onto the debate about abortion, in particular reference to sex selective abortion.
In today’s Independent , here;

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-lost-girls-knowing-the-gender-is-not-medically-necessary–so-delay-it-9062091.html

Dr, Rejendra Kale suggests preventing this by not revealing the sex of a foetus until the 30 week scan. He posits that this would reduce sex selective abortion.
He’d be right, of course.
But would it prevent cultural femicide?
No.
And his suggestion is , albeit perversely- accidentally – racist.
And so very patriarchal.
And there’s something else , an elephant in the room.
Race.

And in the same edition , Yasmin Alabhai-Brown, here;

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/it-would-be-racist-not-to-intervene-and-prevent-genderselective-abortions-9062577.html

She bravely mentions race, but asserts that it would be racist to allow women choice. Often the only protection against the the very things she too rails against. Cultural misogyny.
Does she think for a moment that preventing sex selective abortions[which are NOT illegal BTW] will end the punishment of women who bear girls?
Our own history has a very famous example of why it wouldn’t .
The Tudors had no way of knowing the sex of a foetus.
Did this protect all but two of Henry The Eighth’s wives?
The only ones protected from his toxic desire for a male child were Anne of Cleves, who’s marriage he refused to consummate [and perversely he treated well because of this] and Catharine Parr, because she was middle aged and he was incapable through obesity and illness , by then.

Back to the elephant

Anyone brave enough to mention the presence of the elephant will face rabid , silencing , accusations of racism.
But sorry people , it IS relevant.
Nobody’s suggesting FOR A NANO SECOND that one race is innately, genetically, more likely to abort female foeti.
Anymore than anyone would link race to innate IQ , for instance.
This isn’t anthropology, this is sociology.
Like it or not, the vast majority of abortions based solely*in the basis of sex are not requested by races and cultures of a western, Caucasian, and Christian nature**
This is where the question becomes cultural. And the fact that certain cultures coincide with certain races should not stifle debate.
Because it’s not the people most vocal in this debate , men and pro-lifers, who are being harmed.
It’s women.

Cultural femicide isn’t abortion.
Does Dr Kale think for a minute that women won’t still face abuse, divorce, homelessness and even murder just because they cannot know the sex of their foetus?
Does Dr Kale not know that women will still face abuse, divorce, homelessness , and even murder if they cannot abort their foetus?
Face femicide?

If that is his sincere belief he’s either self deluding or eye wateringly ignorant.
He’s ignoring India, he’s ignoring Arghanistan, Pakistan, he’s ignoring these and countless other cultures and countries where the abortion of female foeti is endemic.
Where the abuse of women is endemic.
Where cultural femicide is endemic.
Jyoti Singh Pandey, anyone? ***

He’s ignoring the fact that this toxic cultural misogyny migrates when people do. Like it or not.
People have the right to migrate.
Migration has benefitted this country.
I’m proof of this.
Dr Kale is proof of this.
Yasmin Alabhai-Brown is proof of this.

But I tell you this , cultural misogyny will not cease because of well meaning, but ham-fisted , interventions like this.
While no woman will be allowed, legally, to ascertain the sex of her foetus before 30 weeks, only certain women will suffer.

Women will be forced to find another way of ascertaining the sex of their foetus. Illegal ultrasound clinics will spring up.
Women will be forced to go private, for a “3D scan” – where “accidentally” the sex will be revealed, but not recorded.
No paper trail, no proof.
Women will be forced to pay for amniocentesis.

Poorer women will abort early simply because they’re terrified their foetus is female. And they will lie about it.
Poorer women will abort late, illegally , when they find out their foetus is female.
This will result in maternal death. Make no mistake.

In areas where the sex of a foetus in not revealed [by the NHS and other publicly funded bodies] people just go private. Ultrasound scans are relatively cheap. But, be assured, the price will rise, nationally , if revealing sex becomes illegal.
And in these areas where people have to go private in order to, quite legally, ascertain the sex of their foetus, the figures for abortion based on sex are vanishingly low.

Why? Because women are terrified of cultural femicide. So they lie. When requesting abortion they lie.****
Cultural femicide ISNT abortion. Abortion is just a symptom. A symptom of a toxic misogyny that kills MILLIONS of women, worldwide, every year.

Let’s call sex selective abortion what it is. A symptom [one of many] of male violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence transcends culture,
Family annihilation transcends culture.

These, ALL, are cultural femicide.
Rightly, we as feminist , rail against this.

We, as feminist, would be cowards, racists, and arguably NOT feminist if we allow accusations of racism to silence us on this.

We as feminists would be betraying our sisters if we continue to volunteer other women into danger, via their uteri, because of that same vile cowardice.

If you will not be a voice for the voiceless, if you throw your sisters under the bus that is “liberalism”, you’re a coward.
If you refuse to utilise your #whitewomanprivilege and it’s commensurate “white women obligation” to fight for any women’s right to control her own body, and FOR HER TO NEVER HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY, you’re a coward , a racist, and no feminist.

I give the last word on this to Sarah Ditum , here;

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/19/sex-selective-abortion-womans-right

And to Education For Choice, here;

http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/sex-selective-abortion-in-news-again.html

________________________________________________________________________

* medical reasons for sex selective abortion include genetic illnesses attached to sex. Restricting sex discovery to 30 weeks gestation will make a mockery of part of the 1967 act regarding foetal abnormality and genetic disability.
Often these illnesses affect male foeti more, but either way condemn affected children to agonising, curtailed , existences. While agonised parents look on, helpless.

** “white women” DO abort on the basis of sex. Some “white” cultures ARE every bit as toxic to female foeti as others. There’s just not as many of them.
And it is still cultural femicide.
And aborting a child of EITHER sex, to “balance” a family, is a phenomenon almost exclusive to developed nations, and the rich.
And is repugnant.

*** Jyoti Singh Pandey. Delhi gang-rape. Described [trigger warning] here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape

There are other more graphic, more salacious, accounts of this horrific crime. It’s up to you to research those.

**** and knowing this- is it such a stretch that the so called “culturally sensitive” arguments will be co-opted , to say that in order to avoid accusations of racism, we must infer that “all” women are lying when stating a reason for requesting abortion?
that all women’s right to abortion must ergo be restricted, to save the rare foeti that’s there’s NO EVIDENCE are aborted due to their sex?

ABOUT MYSELF.
I AM A Roman Catholic mother of one. I am repulsed by the thought of aborting a foetus “just” because it is female. Thankfully, I’m not from a culture(of whatever hue) where this is likely. This is my “white woman privilege”.
I long for a world free of the toxic patriarchy that makes abortion controversial or even necessary. Where contraception is safe and effective. Where women never have to explain ANY of their choices.
Where all babies born have a fair crack at a life free from ANYTHING dictated purely on the basis of their genetic sex, or culturally constructed gender.
I am fiercely pro-choice. No woman should ever have to explain her reasons for practicing reproductive autonomy. As a Catholic I believe this is between a woman and her conscience.
Women should not collude in the punishment of women who make choices forced upon them by men. By patriarchy.

A final word, this letter I had published in the Guardian in May 11 outlines my stance……

“What the “pro-life” lobby fails to be honest about (which is why their influence is increasingly dangerous) is that – unlike the “pro-choice” lobby – they seek to remove from women their ability to choose a course of action best suited to their own circumstances and conscience.
I am a Catholic. I am against abortion. But – as the mother of a girl – I’m fervently “pro-choice”. As much as it’s every woman’s right to choose not to terminate a pregnancy, it’s also her right to choose the opposite action. Every person has the right to complete sovereignty over their own body, and the right to deal with whatever consequences exercising that choice involves. “Pro-choice” only advocates a woman’s right to a termination if that’s what she chooses and, unlike “pro-life”, seeks neither to coerce or legislate (or coerce via legislation) over a person’s ownership of their reproductive destiny.
Medically speaking, allowing choice is ethical; removing it is not. Along with the abolition of the death penalty and the creation of the NHS, the 1967 Abortion Act stands out as the most ethical, humane piece of legislation in British history. It’s about time we of the “liberal left” grew a backbone and defended it as such.

Sinead Connolly

St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan”