Sarah Ditum writes for The Guardian “as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter why any woman wants to end her pregnancy. If it’s to select for sex, that’s her choice.”
That’s a radical enough opinion that most people will be repulsed by it without further comment, but further comment is warranted to really explore the tragic, schizophrenic, unscientific, and ultimately misogynistic logic behind it. First: there’s the routine set of mental contortions necessary to deny that abortion is, in fact, the killing of a living human being. No matter how much Ditum may talk about ending pregnancy or refer to the unborn human being as “what’s growing inside you,” the reality is that the sex of your unborn child is determined at conception. It does not “end up as a man or a woman.” He or she (not it) starts out that way. It couldn’t very well be a sex-selective abortion if the gender-fairy didn’t arrive until birth, now could it?
Secondly, Ditum admits that sex-selective abortion couldn’t really be covered by current English law because ostensibly abortions are for the sake of the mother, and the specific sex of the unborn human being shouldn’t have any impact one way or the other on the mother’s health. Then she considers the global perspective:
But what about when a pregnant woman lives in a society that gives her real and considerable reason to fear having a girl? The kind of society where dowry systems mean an inconveniently gendered child could bankrupt a family, or one where a livid patriarch deprived of a male heir could turn his fury on both mother and daughter? In those situations, a woman wouldn’t just be justified in seeking sex selective abortion; she’d be thoroughly rational to do so.
This is a micro-version of the entire feminism/abortion debate, and it illustrates perfectly this plain, simple, uncontestable fact: elective abortion is acquiescence to patriarchy. What does Ditum think you should do in an oppressive society that denigrates the value of women? Clearly the solution, as Ditum states quite frankly, is not to stand up for women’s rights and dignity, but rather it is to enable that oppression. Go along to get along, that’s Ditum’s motto when confronted with rank oppression.
It’s really hard for me to tell the difference between what Ditum calls feminism and what any reasonable person would call collaboration. Rather than stand up for women in need, why not just kill them so as not to rock the patriarchal boat? Apparently feminism really is just code for “concerns of upper-middle class white women” these days, and when it comes to the entrenched power interests of the patriarchy goes, the old saying applies: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”