There has been a lot of talk about sex-selection and abortion in the news lately. Anti-choicers have created misleading videos to lie about Planned Parenthood’s stance on sex-selective abortions, PRENDA (a bill that would outlaw sex-selective abortions) was facing a vote, and some twitter users have begun using the term “gendercide.”
But the real issue here isn’t sex-selection. The real issue is that anti-choicers don’t believe that women and girls are capable of taking care of their own lives.
While this extreme level of obsession with female fetuses is new, anti-choicers have long used the female fetus as a symbol for “someone in need.” Their own version of a “damsel in distress,” if you will. The thinking goes like this: people want to take care of those whom they believe are helpless. For a long time, women and girls were thought to be weaker than men and boys, incapable of taking care of themselves. That’s why women in decades past were not allowed to own property, or were themselves property of their fathers and husbands. If anti-choicers can convince you that women are still incapable of taking care of themselves, they might be able to convince you to step in and “help.”
We’ve come a long way since women were property in America. We now know that women and girls are just as capable as men and boys. Anything men can do, women can do. We can own property, vote, and even run for President if we like (whether we can win is another story).
But anti-choicers haven’t caught up with us, and they’re hoping they can bank on that historical sense of “need to help the helpless” people might still feel. And because they believe girls are weak and helpless, they use that to their supposed advantage. This is why sidewalk harassers tell women that their “baby girl” needs them to choose life, or why every anti-choice fetus is a “she” with “her” this and that. It’s even why those creepy stories written to be seen from the point of view of a fetus to their “mommy” is a written by a female fetus.
It’s also why many anti-choicers say that the women who choose abortion shouldn’t be punished, because they were mislead and ignorant and didn’t know what they were doing.
Anti-choicers aren’t worried about sex-selection because they value women and girls; on the contrary, they are worried about sex-selection because they think it will help them take away more rights from women. I find it hard to believe that any anti-choicer would actually care if girls are aborted for their gender, with how little respect they often show for women. Instead, I see this as another slap in the face. Anti-choicers are pretending to care about my gender so that they can hurt my gender more.
This type of behavior must be recognized, called out, and stopped. We must show that we value, respect and trust women and girls to make the correct, moral choices for their lives. Only by valuing women as capable moral agents can we teach others that women are of value.