Gender imbalance, sex trafficking, and Jay Leno

BBC News reported April 6:

Such a tragedy. Where are the feminists? Here's a BBC sidenote...

Hunger is driving North Koreans to escape to China, crossing a river frontier at the mercy of traffickers.

Once in China they are forced to live secret lives, the women often sold into forced marriages or prostitution, because if discovered the Chinese authorities will send them back....

The pandemic of sex trafficking can almost entirely be blamed on sex selection abortions and infanticide. The United Nations Population Fund recently reported there are 60 million missing girls in Asia, roughly the population of the entire country of Thailand.

This is not just their problem, it is our problem. A male dominated world will cause the return of worldwide patriarchal sexism as well as a male proclivity for war, as if we're not seeing that already - every day a new threat. A country to watch out for? China. Read on. AFP reported today:

Selective abortion in favour of males has left China with 32 million more boys than girls, creating an imbalance that will endure for decades, an investigation released Friday warned.

The probe provides ammunition for those experts who predict China's obsession with a male heir will sow a bitter fruit as men facing a life of bachelorhood fight for a bride....

chinese boys.jpg

In most countries, males slightly outnumber females - between 103 and 107 male births for every 100 female births.

But in China and other Asian countries, the sex ratio has widened sharply as the traditional preference for boys is reinforced by the availability of cheap ultrasound diagnostics and abortion....

In China, an additional factor has been the "one-child" policy....

Zhejiang university professors Wei Xing Zhu and Li Lu and Therese Hesketh of University College London found that in 2005 alone, China had more than 1.1 million excess male births.

Among Chinese aged below 20, the greatest gender imbalances were among 1-to-4-year-olds, where there were 124 male to 100 female births, with 126 to 100 in rural areas, they found....

Among second births, the sex ratio was even higher, at 143 males to 100 female. It peaked at a massive 192 boys to 100 girls in Jiangsu province....

jay and mavis leno.jpgWhere does Jay Leno fit in all this? His wife Mavis is a long-time board member of the pro-abortion Feminist Majority Foundation, headed by former NOW head Eleanor Smeal and actively involved in "recruiting and training" pro-abortion feminists.

The Lenos are hosting a Hollywood fundraiser April 29 for FMF. Mavis may sincerely be concerned about the plight of Afghan and Pakistani women, but she as an avowed pro-abort is actually a sexist culprit. Speaking of the Bush administration, Terri Schiavo, and abortion, she told the Detroit Free Press in 2005, as quoted by Jivin J:

"Our current conservative, religious government is obsessed with women on life support and with fetuses because they are imaginary people," as opposed to acknowledging the rights of everyday women, she said. "The way things are going in this country, there may come a day when we need the women of Afghanistan to speak for us."

burqa.jpgLeno may not know more than half of those "imaginary people" are female. She has it so backward. She is trying to put a bandaid on the plight of women in Afghanistan while maintaining direct responsibility for the growing prejudice worldwide against women.

Speaking of Afghanistan, the solution to the Taliban is Christianity, which I expect Leno rejects as well.

[HT for gender imbalance story: moderator Jasper and reader Susie A.; for Leno story: Claude; photo of the Lenos courtesy of parstimes.com; photo of Afghan women courtesy of The Ottawa Sun]


Comments:

I am currently reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I have probably read dozens of articles on African American rights and the struggle to get those rights, and I've read To Kill a Mockingbird so many times, and every time that I read of characters criticizing activists, calling them "n****r-lovers," I flinch. Then I read the F.M.F. saying "fetus-lovers."

It's a strange similarity, and am I the only one who shivers at that? It's too disturbing. Oh yeah? Well all of you are just fetus-lovers. And I think, Oh, dear God, please help us. Sadness. :(.

Posted by: Vannah at April 10, 2009 10:40 AM


I cannot believe the nerve of Mrs. Leno. How ignorant she is! Abortion is a womans way into bondage!!!! They also ought to educate themselves as to what the word fetus means.

Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 10:57 AM


The pandemic of sex trafficking can almost entirely be blamed on sex selection abortions and infanticide.

I don't think that's true at all. We have a sex trafficking problem in this country as well, despite not having a big problem with sex-selective abortion.

And the women who are trafficked are more often not sold off to become wives. They become prostitutes. You can only sell a wife once, but you can sell a prostitute many times. The men abusing these women want women to abuse, not just women in general. If they had access to non-trafficked women, they'd probably still be abusing them. Sex-selective abortion and sexual violence are closely related issues in many ways but I'm inclined to say that they're caused by the same root problem, not that one causes the other.

Men who just want to buy a wife can often do so without buying trafficked women. South Korea is currently grappling with the cultural changes that are resulting from so many farmers marrying women from the Philippines, Cambodia, etc. They enter into these brokered marriages because few South Korean women want to live a farmer's life, where there is typically little money and a resistance to changing views on gender, and these women are now in a position to make such choices.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 10, 2009 11:04 AM


Mrs. Leno, and others like her, are only doing a disservice to other women. If they only knew how foolish they sounded.

Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 11:04 AM


Mrs. Leno, and others like her, are only doing a disservice to other women. If they only knew how foolish they sounded.
Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 11:04 AM

Well, Heather, they probably think a lot of the pro lie women sound foolish too. I doubt you'd change your honestly held beliefs "if you only knew" how foolish you sounded.


Posted by: Hal at April 10, 2009 11:33 AM


Hal, that's okay. You and I have disagreed on the abortion issue for 3 years. Heck, what's one more?

Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 11:41 AM


"I don't think that's true at all. We have a sex trafficking problem in this country as well, despite not having a big problem with sex-selective abortion."

Alexandra,

You couldn't be more wrong. I've traveled to south Korea several times. The problem there is pretty bad. You really can't compare the two.

Posted by: Jasper at April 10, 2009 11:45 AM


Sex-trafficking is so tragic, but it really must meet its match someday. Let's just be hopeful and keep praying until then. That's something that we can all agree on, pro-choice or pro-life.

Oh, and have a happy Good Friday, everybody.

Posted by: Vannah at April 10, 2009 11:50 AM


jasper, you are misreading my comment. If you say that sex trafficking is almost entirely caused by a lack of women, then how does that explain sex trafficking in countries were there is no lack of women?

I know that the sex industry in Korea absolutely appalling. What I am saying is that this is not due to a lack of women. Many, many of the men visiting room salons or anmas or whatever else are married. The sex trade in S. Korea is not driven by the fact that there are no women to marry or have sex with. It is driven by cultural attitudes towards sex and towards women.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 10, 2009 11:58 AM


Vannah,

I'm sure you meant a "blessed" Good Friday, and not a happy one. It's a solemn day of remembrance, when we stop our self-focused lives and recall Christ's passion and death for OUR sakes.

Regarding Mrs.Leno, I can hardly believe how ignorant and callous she seems to be, calling babies "imaginary people." It's unbelievable.

Posted by: Jen at April 10, 2009 12:04 PM


Alexandra, with a shortage of 60 million women in Asia, equal to the entire population of Thailand - admitted by all to be due to sex-selection abortion/infanticide - you are putting blinders on to deny the sex trafficking problem, which is now considered a pandemic, i.e., global, is largely due to the abortion induced shortage of women.

You choose isolated pockets to make your case, and by so doing ignore obvious spillover.

Prostitution may be the world's oldest profession, but there is something else going on these days.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at April 10, 2009 12:10 PM


"recruiting and training" new feminists?? I wonder if the first course is "Dehumanizing the fetus 101" and "How to use pro-death language".....and on and on and on.

Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 12:12 PM


I am not denying the sex trafficking problem. I am not denying that a shortage of women to abuse means more women will be trafficked in order to be abused. I'm just saying that abuse of women is not caused by sex-selective abortion, but rather that sex-selective abortion IS abuse of women, or at least one symptom of it.

Many women and children are trafficked in the US. I would not say that this is the result of there being fewer children around for people who want kids but can't have any of their own, or fewer women for people who want them. I would say it's the result of some perverse attitudes towards children, towards women, and towards sex. Technically the lack of children whose parents are willing to allow them to be abused, or the lack of women who are willing to put up with abuse, is "to blame" for the number of women and children who are trafficked, but I don't think anyone would imagine that the solution to this is just to have more people available for abuse. Abuse of women and abuse of children, wherever they come from, is absolutely unacceptable.

Fewer women to abuse at home will mean that more abuse victims must be brought in from outside. But I think that the forces to blame for sex trafficking are far deeper than a mere lack of women. Lack of women to abuse is only responsible for sex trafficking in the most pragmatic sense of the word -- that of women to abuse needing to come from *somewhere*. If not from down the street then from the poor countryside; if not from the countryside then from the nation next door.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 10, 2009 12:27 PM


Oh...I did mean blessed, sorry. I was going to say that, but my mind was drawing an intense blank right then and there. Thanks :).

And I do believe that sex trafficking is incurred by cultural attitudes towards women, as well as economic motivation, but abortion is responsible for a lot of the attitude regarding women's inferiority in the first place. It is so often used as tool to gain control, just as sex crimes. They often go hand in hand.

Posted by: Vannah at April 10, 2009 12:29 PM


North Korea is a brutal regime. There are prisons there where those who have tried to escape to China but were arrested by China and deported back to N Korea are imprisoned. Pregnant women in these prisons are vulnerable to horrible abuse. Their unborn babies are mercilessly killed despite the desperate protests of the helpless mothers.

Here is a quote from the book, Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits by Steve Mosher, of the Population Research Institute:

For sheer brutality the North Korean population control program cannot be outdone. The policy is even stricter for the millions of inmates of that country’s Gulag, where pregnancy is a crime and births are absolutely forbidden. One former prisoner reported that “While I was there, it was commonly known that pregnant women were taken to a hospital outside the camp for forced abortion and that babies born alive were killed. One day when we came back from our work outside the camp, prisoners told us that a police doctor had inspected the female prisoners in the morning and had found out that two of them were pregnant . . . Both were ordered to run around the camp yard with a heavily loaded stretcher. The first woman had [a] miscarriage and collapsed. Then, two prisoners were ordered to kick the swollen belly of Kim Son-hi. She miscarried about one or two hours later . . .

[see the whole chapter at the PRI website, http://tinyurl.com/cmqskd]

Here are some more eye witness testimonies about the atrocities committed in these N Korean camps, available on the PRI website:

There was a 19-year-old pregnant woman prisoner in the camp... [who] gave birth to a baby with the help of an elderly woman prisoner.... The guard immediately ordered us to kill the just-born infant. The eldest woman had to cover the infant with a blanket as instructed and to kill him.
A woman was screaming as she went into labor.... They threatened to take her out for running if she did not stop screaming.... When the baby was delivered after suffering a terrible ordeal, it was left on the floor to die. The mother wept to get the baby in her arms. Her eyes were swollen with grief but the guards hurled all sorts of invectives at her.

[see http://tinyurl.com/cmyxh5]

Posted by: Scott Johnston at April 10, 2009 12:33 PM


The Leno's line lines up more with red china's beliefs than mine. I take it they have no children.

Posted by: xppc at April 10, 2009 12:41 PM


The pandemic of sex trafficking can almost entirely be blamed on sex selection abortions and infanticide.

AAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! That's a good one, Jill. As if sex trafficking doesn't exist anywhere but China.

Sadly, sex trafficking is a problem all over the world, including Latin America, Eastern Europe, and right here in the USA:

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=1596778

It is the result of sexist oppression, not abortion, and feminist groups are some of the few people willing to fight it:

http://feminist.org/global/issue.asp?issue=Human%20Trafficking

So you see, blaming feminists and abortion rights for sex trafficking really is laughably pathetic. You must have had a bit too much to drink on Good Friday to come up with that one.

Posted by: reality at April 10, 2009 1:16 PM


To Reality,

You clearly don't know the first thing about Good Friday or you would not have made such an irreverent remark to Jill. This is a holy day of sacred remembrance and a day the world desperately needs to acknowledge and be grateful for. Please do not be so mocking and insulting.

Posted by: Jen at April 10, 2009 1:24 PM


Scott, how horrible!

Posted by: Heather at April 10, 2009 4:23 PM


Jen,

Either Jill's been drinking, or she's just unbelievably stupid. Blaming feminists for sex-selective abortion and sex trafficking is insane. What's next? Blaming AA and MADD for drunk driving accidents?

Posted by: reality at April 10, 2009 4:26 PM


reality: the fact is that abortion has directly led to it's use as a sex selection tool. And in cultures where, (unlike the West) their is a real hatred of women and where women are viewed as chattel. (Western feminists really don't have a clue what it's like to be treated as property.)
Since the modern feminist movement has vociferously supported and promoted abortion and have willingly embraced any consequences, they have also supported femicide.

The fact is that many Western feminists simply cannot come out against the sex selection problem (just as they can't come out and recognize the abortion/breast cancer relation either) because to do so, is to admit that in some situations (at the very least) abortion is wrong/harmful or a poor choice. Abortion is in fact not about choice - it is the ONLY choice for the modern Western feminist.

And a consequence of the skewed sex selection ratios is an exacerbated sex trafficking situation.

Posted by: angel at April 10, 2009 5:41 PM


what to do will millions of unwed Chinese men?

You take them into the army and build the largest sophisticated army in the world..

Isn't that what Germany did almost 70 years ago???

Isn't it?

Posted by: angel at April 10, 2009 5:47 PM


In a related developement North Korea just announced the first ever deployment of a sub surface communications satelite using a multi-state intercontinental ballistic missle.


The first intercepted radio transmission from the sub-mariner satelite sounded a like a garbled rendition of the Beatles 'Yellow Submaline' and a commercial for 'kimchi' complete with a complimentary coupon for $10.00 off on a mail order bride.

yor bro ken

Posted by: Anonymous at April 10, 2009 5:57 PM


Posted by: angel at April 10, 2009 5:47 PM

"What to do with millions of unwed Chinese men?"

----------------------------------------------------------

You could allow them to immigrate to Iowa, where they could 'wed' each other, but I suggest it would be more efficient to emigrate the Iowa judges to China, and North Korea to perform the marriage ceremonies.

What will be the proof the marriage has been consumated?

yor bro ken


Posted by: Anonymous at April 10, 2009 6:05 PM


Posted by: angel at April 10, 2009 5:41 PM

And a consequence of the skewed sex selection ratios is an exacerbated sex trafficking situation.

------------------------------------------------------

The law of unintended consequences combined with the law of supply and demand may make 'reality' a marketable commmodity as a mail order bride to Chinese and/or North Korean men desperate to find a soul mate, but not desperate enough to order a male bride.

yor bro ken

Posted by: Anonymous at April 10, 2009 6:11 PM


To eliminate more sad news such as this, I think that we as pro-lifers have an awful lot of work ahead of us. So much of abortion is fought on a sense of bigotry: bigotry against children and their rights, bigotry against ethnic minorities, and a sense of exploitation against women. We as pro-lifers ought to realize that abortion and sex trafficking come together in the fight to end the world's sense of entitlement to women. Women aren't stepping stones to power, and I think that we need to focus on other attrocities committed against women.

Posted by: Vannah at April 10, 2009 6:22 PM


Mail order brides for the 'blue men' or aka a 'veiled threat'.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 10, 2009 6:28 PM


I would actually say that abortion is the effect of the negative attitudes towards women, not the cause.

And yes, sex trafficking of prostitutes would probably be happening regardless, though it probably is a little more common.

But the kidnapping and selling of women to men who want wives? If it was all about power or sex why wouldn't they be called sex slaves or something? It's about the difficulty of finding a wife and the "need" for a male heir.

I think that allowing more immigration from countries like North & South Korea and China is an excellent plan. The regimes are so brutal and oppressive that simply living there makes them victims of horrible human rights abuses. They should be allowed in as political refugees in whatever numbers they can come. Our immigration policies need a serious overhaul.

Posted by: YCW at April 11, 2009 5:27 AM


I think that allowing more immigration from countries like North & South Korea and China is an excellent plan. The regimes are so brutal and oppressive that simply living there makes them victims of horrible human rights abuses. They should be allowed in as political refugees in whatever numbers they can come.

How is S. Korea a brutal regime? It's a democracy with an independent, elected president (currently Lee Myung Bak).

Yes, it has many problems, especially in its view of women/sex. Prostitution is everywhere and it's not something only the deviant or desperate take advantage of. Women have plastic surgery at amazingly depressing rates. Some men, especially farmers, marry Southeast Asian women through brokerage services, which is changing the racial composition of the country and causing a whole host of problems (especially because the men using these services tend to be on the tail end of progressive attitudes towards race and gender). It has many problems that come from rapid industrialization. But it's not a brutal regime. Unless you consider blasting K-Pop in every store and restaurant to be a human rights violation (I could be persuaded that it is...).

Posted by: Alexandra at April 11, 2009 6:03 AM


I would actually say that abortion is the effect of the negative attitudes towards women, not the cause.

I think more accurately, abortion results from a certain view of women and femininity. That view sees the feminine gifts, particularly the ability to bear and nurture new life as burdensome.

Many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures do not view women in a positive light. Women are mere property and nothing more.
In the West, Christianity changed this view for the most part (although I think many feminists would disagree). Any nation Christianized, women were much better off.

I read a book recently about a Muslim woman who recounted the story of her family. Her mother had 4 girls and when the 5th girl was born, the baby was taken, wrapped in a blanket and allowed to suffocate. Her mother went on to have 5 more girls, all murdered. The mother went along with this practice because it was necessary for her own survival.

The author's sister was secretly dating a man and they planned to marry. Her own brother murdered his sister to remove the "dishonor" incurred by such behavior. These events happened in the 1990's and they continue to happen on a daily basis (ex. the recent Taliban video of a 12 year old girl being whipped).

I don't see the West being able to offer any solutions to this sort of view of women. Abortion is not a solution. It does not respect the integrity of femininity nor of the baby.
The Western feminist sees abortion and birth control as empowering. But the sense of power is misguided since it is against the man (often the woman's husband) whom the woman should be a partner and helpmate with, and it is against the helpless unborn baby whom she has a duty to love and protect.
Equal rights gained in this manner will not and have not changed society for the better.

Posted by: angel at April 11, 2009 7:03 AM


Posted by: reality at April 10, 2009 4:26 PM

"Blaming feminists for sex-selective abortion and sex trafficking is insanebly stupid."
-------------------------------------------------

The pregnant woman consents, though not always fully informed, but the prenatal child, though never consenting, is fully informed of the violent act of abortion.


The "insane stupidity" is winking at pre-natal homicide, no matter what the sex or ethnicity of the victim.

The chinese with their one child policy only wanted to limit their population growth, but the law of unintended consequences kicked in and the cultural preference for a male child resulted in female children being selectively killed by abortion and/or infanticide.

Economics is not just about money.

The law of supply and demand dictates price.

If supply does not meed the demand, then the price increases.

As the price increases so does the desirability of the commodity.

There is a breaking point where the price is so high and the profit margin so great that men and women make a risk/benefit analysis and determine that it is desirable to break the law of their conscience, society, God and risk their freedom and even their life to obtain the perceived benefit.

So on the one hand you have people selectively killing female human embryo/fetuses because they see males as more desireable and/or they want to create a market where females have a higher value simply because there are less of them.

Then these same people participate in the underground economy/black market that they have helped to create and profit handsomely by said activity.

The 'insane stupidiy' of regulating how many children people may 'choose' to have has resulted in a demographic catastrophy.

There is a way China can deal with the overabundance of males in it's population.

They can start a convienient war some place send the 'spare males' there to die and they can send the booty from the war, 'females', back to China to satisfy the law of supply and demand and bring the marketplace back into equilibrium.

yor bro ken


Posted by: Anonymous at April 11, 2009 7:44 AM


Posted by: YCW at April 11, 2009 5:27 AM

I think that allowing more immigration from countries like North & South Korea and China is an excellent plan. The regimes are so brutal and oppressive that simply living there makes them victims of horrible human rights abuses. They should be allowed in as political refugees in whatever numbers they can come. Our immigration policies need a serious overhaul.

------------------------------------------------------

A perfect example of the liberal humanist's propensity for ignoring the problem, especially if it flies in the face of their preferred opinion and treating the symptom instead of correctly identifying the problem and finding an ethical and effective solution.

yor bro ken

Posted by: Anonymous at April 11, 2009 7:51 AM


I have to agree with YCW, though I do not believe that changing the immigration policy will eliminate all of the problems with sex trafficking- but it could help with a lot of things besides trafficking.

Posted by: Vannah at April 11, 2009 10:53 AM


Oh, and excellent post, Angel. :).

Posted by: Vannah at April 11, 2009 10:54 AM


Wow, Ken, I've never been called a liberal humanist before. Because I'm not. I just think that the lives of women and their children have value, and if they face sex trafficking, kidnapping, and forced abortion in their countries, we should try to help them. (The same goes for men). The only other solution is to just take over every country where human rights abuses occur. This might do more good, but I'm not sure it's feasible.

Alexandra, I might be wrong about South Korea; some of the other comments were making it sound pretty bad, I thought, but I stand corrected. I was probably just mixing it up with North Korea.

Angel, I'm in complete agreement with you.

I don't know what it is about what I said, but somehow everyone seems to think I'm a liberal. Trust me, I'm to the right of Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 11, 2009 2:18 PM


Sorry, 2:18 is me.

Posted by: YCW at April 11, 2009 2:19 PM


No problem, YCW. South Korea is not governed by an inhumane regime, but it does have a sex trafficking problem -- both as a source and as a destination. They tend to bring Russian or SE Asian women in, mostly as prostitutes. The main destination for women who are trafficked out of, or through, South Korea is the US, but they also go to other places like Japan, Canada, or Western Europe.

There's a lot more to all of this than just numbers, is all I'm pointing out.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 11, 2009 2:36 PM


The fact is that many Western feminists simply cannot come out against the sex selection problem (just as they can't come out and recognize the abortion/breast cancer relation either) because to do so, is to admit that in some situations (at the very least) abortion is wrong/harmful or a poor choice. Abortion is in fact not about choice - it is the ONLY choice for the modern Western feminist.

Seriously, have you ever come across a single mainstream feminist who supports sex-selective abortions? No, for real? Because I've spent a ton of time reading feminist blogs and comments and have yet to come across that point of view.

Hate abortion if you want. I can totally understand that. Hate feminism if you want. I can't understand that much, but it's your right. But don't mischaracterize it.

There are all sorts of feminists (and others) who will say they believe in population control for environmental reasons, and they might even espouse their views in a sarcastic or funny fashion. But question further, and they will still say they support the woman's right to control her own reproductive choices, without government intervention. Aside from some fringe nutbars (every single ideology has them, unfortunately), I'd say you'd be exceedingly hard-pressed to find feminists supporting either sex-selective abortions or sex-trafficking. The denigration of women that makes those two acts possible is the very target of feminism.

Take the time to get to know your "enemy," because so many comments here are so incredibly off-base about feminism. Spend some time on feminist blogs. There will probably be lots of things you don't like, but if you have any talent for discerning human nature, you'll realize that humans aren't really all that different in their motivations. It's the expression of them that get us all into trouble.

I'd love to see the preconceptions of both liberals and conservatives bite the dust entirely, because frankly, they're all really ugly.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 11, 2009 9:32 PM


That last one was me, sometime poster.

Posted by: Terezia at April 11, 2009 9:33 PM


I've yet to find a feminist who actually campaigns for sex-selective abortions. Most just ignore the matter, because it is a difficult one to explain away, I suppose. The ones who I found who acknowledged it were defensive of it, though. One actually said, "Stop personifying them!"

Most feminists are rather shy on the subject, since it does take quite a lot of ignorance to try and say, "What thirty-two million missing girls?" And therefore most pretend that it is not happening.

But, really, this isn't about feminists and this is more important that bashing on feminists- this loss of thirty-two million women is NOT going to go away. It is devastating and horrific to women's rights, and to humanity across the board. This will take a very long time to recover from. :(.

Posted by: Vannah at April 11, 2009 11:15 PM


The ones who I found who acknowledged it were defensive of it, though.

Were they maybe reacting to you being pro-life in general and it seemed like they were defending the Chinese policy? Or they went suddenly contrary because of the same. I've met a few pro-choicers who get instantly angry when they're around pro-lifers and say stupid things.

I just find it so hard to imagine anyone genuinely defending China's government abortion policies. It's certainly not something I've come across with all the time I've spent discussing feminism. And that's a lot of time.

Posted by: Terezia at April 12, 2009 8:39 AM


Oh, I didn't actually talk to them. It was read from an interview that someone had conducted, and I think that she was just feeling as though pro-choice was under attack, but I didn't think that it was very right at all to snap and lash out against both the fetus AND women. Although I agree with you one hundred percent that lots of feminists will say things without thinking. I'm not a feminist, but I say really stupid things quite a lot. Everyone does.

Perhaps it would help to ameliorate tensions if pro-lifers mentioned that they were against China's abortion policy and not instantly attacking pro-choicers.

Terezia: just out of curiosity, and also so I know the best way to engage in a friendly conversation with you without insulting you, are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Posted by: Vannah at April 12, 2009 11:01 AM


Posted by: angel at April 11, 2009 7:03 AM


"I read a book recently about a Muslim woman who recounted the story of her family. Her mother had 4 girls and when the 5th girl was born, the baby was taken, wrapped in a blanket and allowed to suffocate. Her mother went on to have 5 more girls, all murdered. The mother went along with this practice because it was necessary for her own survival."
----------------------------------------------------------
The prophet and Islam did not first appear till some time around 600 AD. That means this killing of unwelcome and unwanted females has been going on for around 1400 years. The Koran/Qur'an implies that the practice is bad.

It seems the nothing 'new under the sun' rule is equally applicalble in the Muslim world.

From the Koran/Qur'an

081.007-009 (At-Takwir [The overthrowing

081.007 When the souls are sorted out, (being joined, like with like);

081.008 When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned -

081.009 For what crime she was killed;

Text Copied from DivineIslam's Qur'an Viewer software v2.913


yor bro ken

Posted by: Anonymous at April 12, 2009 12:01 PM


Vannah, yeah, I think emotionally charged conversations can make people do that. I can get pretty stupid and contrary talking to my mother.

Your explanation of the article makes it make more sense. It would be weird to see a feminist actually supporting China's policies since they're so obviously opposite to the core values of feminism. It's certainly not a monolith, but I think just about the only view that disqualifies someone from calling themself a feminist would be supporting something that exclusively harms women.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I've always been very conflicted about abortion, and still am, even though I've clarified a lot of my views around it by reading here and at another pro-life board. But I'm essentially pro-choice, because I don't want to see these decisions made by the government or my neighbours.

Posted by: Terezia at April 12, 2009 3:53 PM


Seriously, have you ever come across a single mainstream feminist who supports sex-selective abortions? No, for real? Because I've spent a ton of time reading feminist blogs and comments and have yet to come across that point of view.

Hate abortion if you want. I can totally understand that. Hate feminism if you want. I can't understand that much, but it's your right. But don't mischaracterize it.

And Vannah if a person isn't against abortion in all circumstances that person is NOT prolife. To be prolife means you believe abortion is the murder of a human baby - unborn, but still a baby.

Terezia the fact is that they readily admit that any reason for abortion is ok. Most feminists will NOT come out against sex-selective abortions because they believe the right to abortion is paramount.

Posted by: angel at April 12, 2009 4:38 PM


Oh, don't worry, Angel, I am against abortion in all circumstances. It's too dehumanizing for legality and misunderstanding, I think, since it values women more than children when they ought to be valued equally. For equality, both must be respected as individuals with unique gifts and unique offerings to the world. And for the sake of humanity, we need to love one another enought to respect one another- even unborn babies, and understand that life is more important and more valuable than abortion. :).

Posted by: Vannah at April 12, 2009 8:39 PM


I'm somewhere in the middle. I've always been very conflicted about abortion, and still am, even though I've clarified a lot of my views around it by reading here and at another pro-life board. But I'm essentially pro-choice, because I don't want to see these decisions made by the government or my neighbours.
Posted by: Terezia at April 12, 2009 3:53 PM

Terezia, how is it different than other laws prohibiting the taking of another's life?

Posted by: Anonymous at April 12, 2009 8:48 PM


sorry -- anon was me.

Posted by: Eileen #2 at April 12, 2009 8:49 PM


One more reason why I love Jay Leno . His wife is awesome!!! Go Mavis!

Posted by: Yo La Tengo at April 12, 2009 11:37 PM


Most feminists will NOT come out against sex-selective abortions because they believe the right to abortion is paramount.

Angel, I'm just saying that has not been my experience at all, and I don't think I have a single friend who isn't feminist.

Eileen, the only thing that makes it different is that the fetus needs to be carried inside the mother. I have yet to see an analogy that works for that, and I'm not sure one exists, since it's a unique situation.

I would like to see our culture change in a way that values children more, and I would also like to see no one have an abortion except for health reasons. But everyone's got to draw a line in the sand (sometimes many, for an issue this complex), and mine is that it horrifies me to think of any other human beings having jurisdiction over my body.

I'm also agnostic, although leaning toward reincarnation in some form. I'm sure my views are influenced a lot by believing that not being born into this world isn't always a bad thing.

Posted by: Terezia at April 13, 2009 7:43 AM


Terezia, I think we'd probably get along. ;) I know "the middle ground" well, having spent a ton of time there myself.

Have you ever read A Buddhist Critique of the Christian Concept of God? It's a bit thick and I'm a bit dense, so it's slow going, but interesting.

I agree that it's almost impossible to find an analogy that is equivalent to pregnancy. It's the most direct conflict of basic rights that I can think of.

Do you believe that a fetus or embryo etc is a human being? I mean like is it just about bodily autonomy to you, or is it also about a woman being more "entitled" to natural rights than a fetus because of sentience/personhood/independence etc?

Posted by: Alexandra at April 13, 2009 8:32 AM


Alexandra, I haven't read that. It does sound interesting, although I have a lot of trouble following philosophical writings at the best of times. My sister's really drawn to Buddhism, though, and I've always loved discussing what she's read. Maybe I'll ask her to read this one for me!

I do believe the unborn are human beings, but they are in a different class than the born. They require hosting by another human (and that particular human only), which makes them different from born, helpless humans, who can be taken care of by any number of people. So it's not really a question of independence for me either.

And I think all born humans should have exactly the same rights. If you're mentally diminished (say, an infant or someone's with Alzheimer's), others may make some (or most) of your decisions, but those caregivers are ethically required to act in what they perceive to be your best interests.

is it just about bodily autonomy to you, or is it also about a woman being more "entitled" to natural rights than a fetus because of sentience/personhood/independence etc?

It's both. Personhood amendments really bother me because I think there's a huge difference between a fertilized egg and a born human. Even a conservative estimate is that one-third of eggs don't implant for natural reasons (and I've seen much higher numbers from pro-lifers here).

If a fetus dies, the mother still lives. If the mother dies, then (without medical intervention) the fetus dies as well. The unborn are on the losing side of nature in this relationship, which is why I think women should take that responsibility extremely seriously.

It's the most direct conflict of basic rights that I can think of.

Excellently put. I'm still really uncomfortable with this whole issue, but going the other way in my beliefs makes me even more uncomfortable.

Posted by: Terezia at April 13, 2009 10:02 AM


And I think all born humans should have exactly the same rights. If you're mentally diminished (say, an infant or someone's with Alzheimer's), others may make some (or most) of your decisions, but those caregivers are ethically required to act in what they perceive to be your best interests.

Posted by: Terezia at April 13, 2009 10:02 AM

Sounds great. However, many states have futile care laws that require doctors and hospitals to terminate care to critically ill patients to protect the gov't from the cost. Meanwhile, those who can pay can still receive care.

Posted by: hippie at April 13, 2009 10:40 AM


many states have futile care laws that require doctors and hospitals to terminate care to critically ill patients to protect the gov't from the cost. Meanwhile, those who can pay can still receive care.

Imagine the government doing something like that! Healthcare is pretty depressing these days. But I tend to be on the cynical side and often think we're pretty overrated as a species. I'm half-kidding.

Posted by: Terezia at April 13, 2009 11:21 AM


Terezia, I hope you stick around! I think I've seen you elsewhere and maybe a few times here as well, and I always enjoy hearing what you have to say.

I'm not Buddhist, by the way. Just plain old agnostic -- not that I'm ideologically attached to the idea that I don't know if there is a god, or even that I'm indifferent to the idea of there being some knowable truth, but more in the sense that I consider my current religious beliefs temporary and entirely subject to change if, as I learn more, things persuade me to change my mind. I don't consider my agnosticism to be my religious identity, more of just temporary state of being until the point at which I finally figure out everything there is to know. It's entirely plausible that I will be agnostic for my whole life but my point is that I'm not agnostic in the sense that I actively believe we can't know whether or not there's a god -- more in the sense that *I* don't know whether or not there's a god, and nothing I've learned thus far has moved me much from that state. I don't view my agnosticism as the conclusion of my searching/learning, but just as the state of searching/learning. I guess.

Posted by: Alexandra at April 13, 2009 12:37 PM


I guess believing in reincarnation would make for a different viewpoint on life and abortion.

I happen to believe that we have one life on this Earth and that each person is unique and is created by God for a special purpose.
Therefore aborting a baby destroys this and goes completely against the designs of God. Once fertilization occurs, a unique, never to be created again, human being exists. This person is created ultimately to worship God in Heaven forever.

BTW, What about the baby's right to bodily autonomy?

Posted by: angel at April 13, 2009 12:48 PM


Alexandra, I've been moving away from posting and reading here (probably because I've read almost all the arguments by now), but thanks for the kind words! I've enjoyed your posts very much and can relate to what you're saying usually.

I believe there is a god, but I'm unsure what, if anything, this god expects from us. But questions about God are probably the most interesting and important ones I'll ever face. And the discussions are definitely interesting!

Posted by: Terezia at April 15, 2009 6:13 AM