Category Archives: Abortion

The subject is Infanticide

Agree; let’s get the subject matter correct.


WSJ 3/11/2019

‘Safe, legal and rare.”

The phrase, which President Clinton coined during his 1996 re-election campaign, was meant to make abortion sound reasonable and even compassionate. It implied that abortion is inherently regrettable, and that legality and safety go hand in hand.

A generation later, the party of “safe, legal and rare” has been captured by the loud voices and deep pockets of an extremist abortion industry that treats abortion as a moral good. Major Democratic politicians are even unwilling to protect the lives of babies who survive attempted abortions.

There are many complicated debates to be had about abortion, and as unapologetic pro-lifers we want to have those conversations based on compassion and science. But infanticide isn’t complicated. The current debate is about whether or not it’s OK to deprive newborns of appropriate medical care.

The abortion industry’s shift has been assisted by most mainstream media outlets, which have framed the issue with cheap euphemisms and a prefabricated narrative. They describe all pro-life policies, even ones backed by a majority of Americans, as “controversial.” But when pro-abortion politicians advance extreme policies, the headlines focus on pro-life “backlash.”

In reality, the abortion industry is playing offense, not defense. The extraordinary abortion law passed recently in New York is the most glaring example. Gov. Andrew Cuomo lit One World Trade Center pink to celebrate late-term abortion and the removal of protections for babies born alive during botched abortions. Meanwhile in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed infanticide outright, suggesting that a baby born during a botched abortion ought to be “made comfortable,” but then possibly left to die on the table.

These governors weren’t alone. Last month 44 Democratic senators voted to reject the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill would have required health-care providers to give babies who survive abortions the same care they would give to any other baby at the same gestational age. The bill is necessary because current federal law neither affirmatively requires that these babies receive care nor criminalizes withholding care from them.

It shouldn’t be controversial. It shouldn’t be partisan. Three Democratic senators—Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, Alabama’s Doug Jones and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin—read the bill and agreed. Yet under enormous pressure from an abortion industry that spends tens of millions in campaign contributions, Senate Democrats—including six seeking the presidency in 2020—filibustered the bill.

Most Americans don’t share these Democrats’ disregard for newborn life. A recent poll found that a majority of Americans oppose withholding medical care from a viable infant, including 77% who consider themselves pro-choice. If there is ever an opportunity to find common ground, surely this is it.

For more than 200 years, each generation of Americans has committed to protecting the dignity of more and more human beings. Following this tradition, our country now must condemn the lie that some newborn lives are worth less than others. Fundamental American principles demand that we protect babies from cruel mistreatment.

This debate is about infanticide. Planned Parenthood is defending that crime. Many in the national media are overlooking it. Democratic politicians are hiding from it. But the American people are repulsed by it. The recent vote was a missed opportunity to protect the most vulnerable among us. But it will not be the last.

Ms. McCain is a co-host of “The View.” Mr. Sasse, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Nebraska.


Targeting Down Syndrome

WSJ – 5/25/2017 By Sohrab Ahmari


You can learn a lot about a society by paying attention to what it censors. The Soviet Union went to great lengths to block the truth about freedom and prosperity in the West. Today China’s ruling Communists suppress historical memory of their crimes, above all the Tiananmen Square massacre, while the censors in my native Iran are obsessed with women’s bodies.

Then there’s France, where the government has proscribed a publicservice commercial that shows children with Down syndrome describing the joy of growing up with an extra pair of chromosomes. The decision has triggered a free-speech battle royal that may soon reach Europe’s highest rights court.

The 2014 ad, “Dear Future Mom,” addresses a pregnant woman who has just discovered her baby has Down syndrome. “Dear future mom,” says one child. “Don’t be afraid,” says another. “Your child will be able to do many things.” “He’ll be able to hug you.” “He’ll be able to run toward you.” And so on.

Several European Down syndrome associations came together to sponsor the ad. These included France’s Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, named after the geneticist who discovered the link between chromosomal abnormalities and conditions like Down syndrome, and who went on to campaign against prenatal diagnosis and abortion of babies with Down syndrome.

“In France the rate of detected DS pregnancies that result in abortion is 96%,” the foundation’s president, Jean-Marie Le Méné, tells me in an interview. He fears that the advent of new tests that can detect the syndrome earlier and with greater precision will push that rate to 100%— the eradication of an entire category of human beings.

Hence the “Dear Future Mom” ad. When it was released in March 2014, for World Down Syndrome Day, the ad broke records for social-media “shares” in a 24-hour period. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister at the time, was one of the millions of users who shared it.

In France three TV networks agreed to carry it as a public service. The feedback was glowing—until that summer, when the government’s High Audiovisual Council, or CSA, issued a pair of regulatory bulletins interdicting the ad. The regulator said it was reacting to audience complaints.

It wasn’t until after the foundation retained legal counsel, in December 2014, that the nature of the audience complaints became clear. There were only two.

The first objected to the foundation’s antiabortion position generally rather than the ad itself. The other came from a woman who had terminated a pregnancy after receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis. She still mourned that child every day, she wrote. Using the familiar lexicon of contemporary censorship, she added that she found watching the ad “violent.”

The foundation appealed, and the case eventually came before the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court. The council in November affirmed the ban, holding that the ad could “disturb the conscience” of women who had had abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis.

A spokeswoman for the CSA wouldn’t comment on the record. But the regulator insists it was applying French laws that prohibit political messages during TV commercial time. “Dear Future Mom,” the CSA says, didn’t rise to “general interest” because it presented one side of a political debate.

This is a pretext. In its initial notice, published June 25, 2014, the CSA conceded that the ad “shows a positive image of the life of young people with Down syndrome and encourages society to work in favor of their integration and fulfillment”—a message that is squarely in the public interest and apolitical.

Which leaves only the viewer’s complaint of being traumatized. If subjective feelings suffice, any advocacy speech could be restricted—and unpopular minorities like people with Down syndrome are most likely to be silenced.

For the foundation, the claim that the ad evokes feelings of guilt only attests to its moral truth. Says spokeswoman Stéphanie Billot: “When you show a video of DS kids who say, ‘Well, I won’t be normal, but I will still be able to love you,’ the guilt becomes so unbearable that society rejects it. It’s a common, unconscious guilt for all who said nothing about the effort to systematically eliminate DS.” Guilt can be salutary.

The foundation this month lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, asserting freespeech violations as well as genetic discrimination. It helps that France is an outlier. The ad has aired in Britain, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the U.S., among others. No other government took similar action against it.

The European court accepts fewer than 1 in 10 petitions, and the foundation will have to prove harm, since the ad did air as intended in 2014. That won’t be difficult, however, since the CSA says the purpose of the interdiction notice was to discourage networks from airing similar content. Several French broadcasters declined to run “Dear Future Mom” this year, citing a shortage of advertising time.

Mr. Ahmari is a Journal editorial writer in London.


100,000 Missing Women – Part 1

SEOUL—A cultural preference for male children has cost Asia dearly. Count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect and there are upwards of 100 million women missing on the continent today by some estimates.

Not just a human-rights catastrophe, it is also a looming demographic disaster. With Asian birthrates already plummeting, that is tens of millions of women who will never be mothers. The economic and social impact on some of the world’s largest countries is incalculable.

For decades, South Korea was Exhibit A in this depressing trend. By 1990, as medical advances made prenatal sex selection routine, the ratio of male-to-female babies soared in South Korea to the world’s highest, at 116.5 males for every 100 females.

There are some hopeful signs. The imbalance in China and India at birth appeared to peak at the end of last decade and has started moving toward normal levels.
There are some hopeful signs. The imbalance in China and India at birth appeared to peak at the end of last decade and has started moving toward normal levels.

Then something unusual happened. South Korea did a U-turn.

In one generation, South Korea has gone from a society where sons are prized to one where daughters are just as eagerly received. Turbocharged industrialization, urbanization and education, along with a feminist revolt, wiped out centuries-old practices in which a son was essential to inherit property, worship ancestors, care for parents and continue the family lineage.

By last year, the country’s gender ratio had recovered to a normal 105 males born for every 100 females.

The dramatic transformation offers important lessons for Asian giants China and India—one-third of humanity that continues to give birth to significantly more males.

China and India have recently taken action to reduce sex selection of fetuses and to pass laws to promote gender equality.
China and India have recently taken action to reduce sex selection of fetuses and to pass laws to promote gender equality.

In these countries that together hold 2.7 billion people, vast numbers of men won’t be able to find brides in the coming decades, obliterating universal marriage, the underpinning of socioeconomic organization for centuries.

Having so many unattached, alienated men could have potentially devastating economic and social consequences. Some social scientists fear that incidences of rape and bride trafficking in parts of Asia could be early effects of the skewed sex ratios here.

One study by Lena Edlund at Columbia University and others suggested a causal link between a more masculine sex ratio and crime, analyzing province level crime data in China to show that a single point rise in the sex ratio of men aged 16 to 25 raised property and violent crime by between 5% and 6%. China has seen a dramatic increase in crime between 1992 and 2004, and the Columbia study attributed as much as one third of that rise to the increase in the maleness of the young adult population. The theory, in part: Unmarried men are more likely to commit crimes than married men, especially as they try to accumulate assets to compete for scarce brides.

“I don’t see any good consequences—I see only misery and desolation,” says Christophe Z. Guilmoto, a demographer at the French Research Institute for Development in Paris.

The intellectual debate over this misalignment has a long history. In 1990, Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning Indian economist, shocked the world with an article in the New York Review of Books that estimated there were 100 million missing women because of discrimination.

Since then, demographers have devised more precise methods of calculating missing women in each country. They factor in the toll caused by malnutrition and poor medical care and, more significantly, also the numbers lost to abortions of female fetuses, a problem recognized in the years after Dr. Sen wrote his article.

In June of 2015, the Population Council, a New York City-based research organization, published a study saying there were 88 million missing women world-wide in 1990, when Mr. Sen wrote his article, and that there were 126 million missing in 2010, roughly half of them attributable to prenatal sex selection. Of those, more than 112 million were in Asia.

Imagine each figure represents 100,000 women. If you count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect, in 2050 the world will be missing 142 million women, mostly from China and India.
Imagine each figure represents 100,000 women. If you count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect, in 2050 the world will be missing 142 million women, mostly from China and India.

The paper, by John Bongaarts, a distinguished scholar at the Population Council, and Dr. Guilmoto, projects an increase to 150 million missing by 2035 and then a slight decrease to 142 million by 2050.

Across Asia, the effects are only beginning to be felt as the first generation born with skewed sex ratios in the 1980s and 1990s reaches marriageable age.

In Korea, nearly 10% of marriages in 2005 were made up of a Korean husband and a foreign wife, mostly from China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

But as the marriage squeeze worsens in the next few decades, no amount of bride migration will be able to stem the shortfall, demographers say.

The problem will “intensify radically in the next five years and become explosive in the next decade,” says Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist and demographer at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington who studies sex ratios.

If the masculine sex ratios remain as high, in China, there would be as many as 186 single men for every 100 single women hoping to marry by midcentury, according to Dr. Guilmoto, since unmarried men from one year join the next year’s group seeking wives. By 2060 in India, the peak could be higher: 191 men for each 100 women.


100,000 Missing Women – Part 2

WSJ 11/28/2015

Somvir Sain, 38, a driver for a politician in Haryana, a north Indian state with one of the country’s highest sex ratios, has been looking for a wife for 12 years, but in vain. Neither he nor his three brothers have found brides, he says. He has even traveled to several nearby poorer states to try to buy a bride, a common practice, but couldn’t settle on a price and arrangement, he says. Prices ranged from about $400 to $1,500, he says. He offered the lower end of the range but no family accepted. Most wanted him to stay for a few weeks to get to know them, and he says he didn’t have enough vacation time.

“I feel badly for my mother who has to do all of the housework and wash all of my clothes at her age because I can’t find a wife,” he says. “I feel sad thinking of never having children and my family not continuing after me.” Mr. Sain with his mother, Shanti Sain, and his brother Danand Sain, who also is looking for a wife. Mr. Sain with his mother, Shanti Sain, and his brother Danand Sain, who also is looking for a wife. Photo: Vivek Singh for The Wall Street

At the same time, educated, affluent women in Asian nations such as South Korea, Singapore and Japan choose to take what is being called a “flight from marriage,” by remaining single or in unofficial relationships. In much of Asia, the social stigma remains strong against having children outside of marriage, and so staying single almost always means staying childless.

Both China and India have acknowledged the need for action. India has strengthened laws against sex detection of fetuses and enacted legislation aimed at gender equality. In China, the government in 2000 began developing a nationwide program called Care for Girls Campaign. It offered financial incentives to couples with daughters and clamped down on sex detection of fetuses during the second pregnancy, in which female feticide was more common, according to demographers.

Just last month, China announced it was abandoning its one-child policy, believed to be a significant contributor to skewed ratios.

There are some hopeful signs. In China, the ratio of male to female babies, rising in three decades to 120 males for every 100 female babies in 2008, has plateaued or declined slightly since. The sex ratio was 115.9 last year, the lowest it has been since 2001.

It is the same with Indian states with the worst sex ratios. Haryana’s sex ratio of 122 boys for each 100 girls in 2001 fell to about 120 in 2011, the most recent census. India calculates sex ratios from birth to 6 years old.
Still, bringing about change is “a slower process in China. It’s even slower in India,” notes Monica Das Gupta, an ex-demographer at the World Bank now at the University of Maryland. Both countries are much larger and more diverse than South Korea.

Even if the sex ratio at birth were to return to normal, hundreds of millions of Asian men will still remain single in the ensuing decades. More than 21% of Chinese men would still be unmarried at 50 in 2070, while in India the number would be nearly 15%, Dr. Guilmoto estimates.