Twenty years ago, C. J. Cherryh wrote a series of science fiction books, the Faded Sun trilogy. In it, she introduced beings called the regul – cannibalistic frog-like creatures who brought forth the best in their race by ritually chasing down and eating their own children. Whatever children were quick enough and clever enough to survive to adulthood were thereby vindicated as the best.
When one of the human characters asked how the regul could be so bloodthirsty, the regul’s reply upset my teenage worldview. The regul pointed out that their methods of winnowing the population was really no different from that of human beings. The regul simply killed the slow and stupid very early on. Humans tended to wait until youth reached the teens and early twenties, when war served the same purpose the regul winnowing ritual served. The regul couldn’t see why the humans were so upset.
Killing Her Softly
Why mention this? Well, the release of David Reardon’s latest study in the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy now allows for a similar comparison to be drawn between eastern and western culture. We all know that India and China are preferentially killing their little girls. The latest book on the phenomenon, Bare Branches, points out that over 90 million women are missing from the worlds population; 88% of them would have been Indian or Chinese. The missing women are creating enormous gender imbalances in those cultures, imbalances that will only get worse with time.
Now, we could point out a lot of things about this imbalance and the results it will bring. We could talk about the state of the American Wild West in the mid and late 1800’s, where the amount of frontier town violence turned out to be directly proportional to the paucity of women in these gender-imbalanced areas. We could discuss the fact that the larger the male-female gender imbalance is in any particular area, the more likely existing religions are to fracture and the more likely odd religious cults are to take root and grow. The sociology of gender imbalance is quite interesting. But let’s ignore all that for the moment. Let’s just consider Reardon’s study.
He points out a simple fact. Every study of adult female morbidity and mortality ever done demonstrates that women who have an abortion are more likely to be dead a year later than women who give birth. Every single study. Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia – it simply doesn’t matter who does the study. When death from all causes is considered, the single best predictor of whether or not a woman will be alive a year from today is her abortion status. If she has one between now and then, buy a casket. Whether from drug abuse, suicide, or random violence, she will very likely be pushing up daisies in twelve months.
You Say Tomato, I Say To-mah-toe
Take these facts together, and the conclusion is clear. China and India kill their unwanted women in the womb. We kill our unwanted women about thirty years later. Viewed in this light, there really isn’t much difference between Chinese Communists and Americans. It’s really just a question of where you like to make the cut.
Now, it isn’t all quite so cut-and-dried, of course. China, for instance, not only kills little girls through abortion, infanticide and orphanage neglect, the Chinese also forcibly abort women, with results that haven’t been formally studied in Beijing, but are not difficult to predict, given Reardon’s compilation of results. The Chinese attack women at all levels of society. We aren’t quite so efficient, but we do the best we can with what we have.
This, perhaps, explains a letter in a recent edition of the Illinois Leader. A woman named Judith Ann expressed an enormous amount of vituperation concerning the pregnancy she carried to term. Clearly, she wanted to abort – she tried to do it four times. She kept walking away because she knew it was wrong. In this respect, she is like the man of honorable ignorance whom Aquinas praised. She didn’t have an intellectual reason for turning away from murder. She simply knew in her bones that she had to turn away from it. According to Thomas’ line of reasoning, her knowledge of the natural law was thereby shown to be superior to many pro-life advocates I have known. She didn’t need to painfully reason it out. She just knew. That’s why she was able to walk away from it four times.
Still, it doesn’t explain her anger. However, when you read her letter and take all these facts together, everything makes sense. She isn’t angry about the rape. She isn’t angry about the pregnancy. She is angry about being unwanted. Her husband didn’t want her. Her family didn’t want her. Her church didn’t want her. Nobody wanted her. That’s why she is angry. That’s why she is willing to keep abortion legal, even though she knows it is evil.
Going to the Source
And that is the source of the strength in NOW and NARAL members. They speak constantly of the need to avoid bringing another unwanted child into the world. But that isn’t their real issue. The unwanted baby is just the smokescreen, the tear-jerker, the carnival barker that brings you into the tent. It’s the misdirection that hides their real issue, even from themselves. Their real issue is the unwanted woman. They are terrified of being unwanted.
No, strike that. It isn’t terror. Not really. It is disgust. It is total rejection of the idea that any woman could be unwanted. Women cannot be unwanted. Can’t happen. It’s wrong. It’s evil. That’s what they know. You know what? They are totally, absolutely right. In that sense, NARAL and NOW are fighting the good fight. That’s why we are still fighting them thirty years after the sexual revolution created an explosion in female exploitation.
Their’s is an interesting transfer of responsibility if only because it is so close to true. You see, the woman was wanted when she was having sex with her man. When she got pregnant, the man rejected her. "It can’t be me he’s rejecting," she thinks to herself, "Not really. It can’t be me. It must be the baby that is causing me to be rejected. If I get rid of it, I will be wanted again."
If the abortion doesn’t work, if the child is gone but the woman is still unwanted, it must be due to something else. Perhaps the abortion has wrongfully been stigmatized. So, we’ve got to remove the stigma from abortion. We’ll put on t-shirts praising it. Perhaps the fetal remains are the source of the problem. We’ve got to remove the stigma from fetal remains. We’ll turn them into medical cures.
You see, people are just hung up on stigmas associated with things that have nothing to do with women. Once the stigmas are removed from those other things, people will be able to see past them to the women. The women who are wrongfully forced to stand alone, unwanted. That’s wrong, you know. Women are supposed to be wanted, they are supposed to be loved.
They are supposed to be.