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How the West’s Fertility War Has Left Women at Risk

How the West’s Fertility War Has Left Women at Risk

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Published by betsyk1
A review of the book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by
Mara Hvistendahl. Article by Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute. The problems with gender-selection abortion, and choosing boys over girls.
A review of the book Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by
Mara Hvistendahl. Article by Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute. The problems with gender-selection abortion, and choosing boys over girls.

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Published by: betsyk1 on Jan 25, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078www.jennifer-roback-morse.com • email: drj@jennifer-roback-morse.com • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of thisdocument may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of theRuth Institute.
How the West’s Fertility War Has Left Women at Risk 
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Unnatural Selection:Choosing Boys over Girls, and theConsequences of a World Full of Men
Mara HvistendahlPublic Affairs, 2011; 314 pages, $26.99
This brave and timely book has manystrengths and one glaring, butunderstandable, weakness. The strength of this book is the reporting. Mara Hvistendahl,a liberal, pro-choice feminist, painstakinglydocuments the catastrophic consequences of the worldwide “choice” for male babies:gender imbalance leading to prostitution, sexslavery, and male frustration and aggression.The weakness of this book is the politicalanalysis. She doesn’t understand how deeply
 Roe
v.
Wade
changed American politicalculture, particularly within the conservativemovement broadly conceived. But boththese strengths and weaknesses work together to yield an honest and courageous book that should be read by anyone whoconsiders himself (or herself) well informed.Let’s start with the strengths. Hvistendahl isa very honest reporter. She became aware of the gender-imbalance problem while livingin China as a journalist. She recounts howshe visited a grade-school classroom to writean article on the solar heating system beinginstalled in the school. She found herself ina “classroom full of smiling boys. I wastempted to abandon the solar power articleand interview the teachers about the school’s population.” That experience repeated itself so many times that she couldn’t stand itanymore. Her journalist instincts required aninvestigation of the imbalanced sex ratio inChinese society.She found that the problem, however, is notunique to China, with its particularly high- pressure “one child policy” driving smallfamily size. Hvistendahl found gender imbalances all around the world, not just inChina or India. Albania, South Korea,Taiwan, Viet Nam, parts of Singapore, allhave experienced skewed sex ratios. Thenormal gender ratio at birth hovers around105 boys for every 100 girls, with anything between 104 through 106 boys considerednormal. The Caucasus countries of theformer Soviet Union have badly skewed sexratios. Azerbaijan has a sex ratio of 115 boys, Georgia 118, and Armenia, awhopping 120. The American journalistexpected that the explanation wouldbesexist attitudes: in male-dominated societies, patriarchs prefer sons. But she found thatwomen were just as likely to prefer sons,and as responsible for sex-selectionabortion, as their husbands. She also foundthat urban elites, not the rural poor, pioneered the practice of sex-selectionabortion.
Where Technology and Abortion Meet
The factors that give rise to gender imbalance are a mix of technology andeconomic development, layered over the top
 
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078www.jennifer-roback-morse.com • email: drj@jennifer-roback-morse.com • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of thisdocument may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of theRuth Institute.
of traditionalist belief systems. Among thefactors related to economic development, thefirst is a rapidly developing economy, andone with a health-care system matureenough so that prenatal screening is widelyand cheaply available. Second, abortion is pervasive, available at low cost and free of social stigma. And finally, in societies withgender imbalances, the overall population isdeclining.In pre-modern times, old sex stereotypes and preferences for sons drove families tocontinue having children until they have ason. Today, those preferences havenotdissipated. New ultrasound technologymakes it possible to detect the sex of thechild in the womb. The modern custom is toabort the baby if it is a girl; if a boy, give it birth. No need to experience nine months of  pregnancy, and all the trouble ofdelivery,for every baby you conceive. Just give birthto the ones you want and kill the others inutero. Hence, technology and the availabilityof abortion, not just a “patriarchal” preference for sons, have been driving theimbalance of the sexes. Traditional attitudesfor the imbalance are far from the wholestory. As an Indian obstetrician put it, “If  people had a son simply because theywanted a son, girls would have disappearedfrom this country one thousand years ago.”Western population controllersweredelighted with sex-selection abortion because it delivered a double whammy.Reducing the number of girls born reducesthe numbers of future potential mothers. Sogetting the locals to “choose” sons over daughters using sex-selection abortionreduces both current and future populations.But unlike many of the population-controlideologues whom she covers, Hvistendahlnever falls into the trap of believing thateconomic development requires abortion or  population control. After all, the West,which is synonymous with “development,”didn’t require population control in order togrow economically. On the contrary,development came first; reduced familysizes came later.The gender imbalance arose because of the push to cut birthrates and the prevalence of legal abortion. Both of these dubious factorswere exported into developing countries byUnited Nations agencies in collaborationwith elite American foundations. One mighteven say that the so-called experts of theWest imposed these things on poor countries. The imported pressure to reduceoverall fertility, combined with the generaldesire for sons, made the ultrasoundtechnology irresistible.
Young Women as Chattel
The consequences of the gender imbalance brought on by the Western war on fertilityexpose its bare brutality. Frenchdemographer Christophe Guilmoto estimatesthat roughly 163 million baby girls aremissing in the world today. This isapproximately the population of women inthe United States. This magnitude of a sex-ratio imbalance means that when all theselittle boys grow up to be men, there will not be enough women for them all to marry.
 
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078www.jennifer-roback-morse.com • email: drj@jennifer-roback-morse.com • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of thisdocument may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of theRuth Institute.
 No one to marry, explains Hvistendahl inriveting detail, means that men are older when they marry. They have to be better off financially in order to bean acceptablehusband. Economists like Gary Becker  predict that the skewed sex ratio benefitswomen, who become the scarce resource.Men have to compete for their attention. YetBecker’s theory doesn’t account for the powerlessness of the young girl. Yes,she isa valuable resource. But she can’t leveragethat higher value unless her rights aresocially and legally recognized. Without that protection, her value will be captured bysomeone with the power to protect his property rights in her and in her services,usually meaning her parents or her pimp.Her parents can use her value in themarriage market to extract the resourcesfrom her potential husband for themselves but not for her. Even worse, she may bekidnapped and trafficked into prostitution.Hvistendahl recounts in sickening detail thelives of women shuttled from one place toanother in a life of sex slavery. Women arescarce. Hence, so are their sexual services.The exclusive sharing of sexual intimacywith a husband in the protective bonds of marriage becomes more expensive thanarrangements giving multiple men access toa single woman. Hence, prostitution,voluntary or otherwise, becomes lucrative asthe demand for commercial sex increases. Inaddition, men without wives are more likelyto become violent and commit crimes.Indeed, Hvistendahl shows that the gender-imbalance ratio is a better predictor of aregion’s crime rate than poverty. All theseconsequences, foisted on the poorer countries of the world by a population-control establishment that has yet to concedeits errors, flow from the gender imbalance.
Where Hvistendahl Needs Help
 Now, the weakness of the book: Hvistendahldoesn’t understand how profoundly
 Roe
v.
Wade
transformed American politics. Sheidentifies early population controllers—suchas William Draper, the general who pushedfor Uncle Sam to promote “family planning”in foreign policy during the Eisenhower years—as political “conservatives,” as if they could be grouped with the ReligiousRight today. She doesn’t understand howanti-communism—not socialconservatism—animated conservatives of the Soviet era. Indeed, the 1973
 Roe
decision was still a generation way.The fact is that the Religious Right is almostentirely a creation of 
 Roe
v.
Wade
. Prior to
 Roe
, evangelical Protestants were notanimated by politics because America was,for the most part, what we would now call asocially conservative country. LiberalProtestantism was a minority religioussystem confined to the elite leaders of thenorthern denominations but never reflectedthe sentiments of the Protestant rank-and-file. And Roman Catholics represented asolid Democratic voting bloc. The 1973Supreme Court decision, however, drovemany Catholics out of the Democratic partyand into the GOP and, over time, drewevangelical Protestants into the politicalfray. Their shared opposition to abortion

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