Daily Archives: June 19, 2014

Missing women and sex selective abortion

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

As a person who never had an abortion and never intend to have one I’m either not qualified to have an opinion about anything related to the subject, or, I’m uniquely qualified by virtue of being potentially unbiased.  And because of my ambiguous position on the matter I was unaware of a battle raging worldwide over the concepts of ‘femicide’, ‘gendercide’, and ‘missing women’ with emphasis on abortion as a contributing factor.

 Sex-selective abortion in the context of abortion[edit]

MacPherson estimates that 100,000 sex-selective abortions every year continue to be performed in India.[79] For a contrasting perspective, in the United States with a population 14th of India, over 1.2 million abortions every year were performed between 1990-2007.[113] In England and Wales with a population 120th of India, over 189,000 abortions were performed in 2011, or a yearly rate of 17.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44.[114] The average for the European Union was 30 abortions per year per 1,000 women.[115]

Many scholars have noted the difficulty in reconciling the discriminatory nature of sex-selective abortion with the right of women to have control over their own bodies. This conflict manifests itself primarily when discussing laws about sex-selective abortion. Weiss (1995:205) writes: “The most obvious challenge sex-selective abortion represents for pro-choice feminists is the difficulty of reconciling a pro-choice position with moral objections one might have to sex selective abortion (especially since it has been used primarily on female fetuses), much less the advocacy of a law banning sex-selective abortion.”[116] As a result, arguments both for and against sex-selective abortion are typically highly reflective of one’s own personal beliefs about abortion in general. Warren (1985:104) argues that there is a difference between acting within one’s rights and acting upon the most morally sound choice, implying that sex-selective abortion might be within rights but not morally sound. Warren also notes that, if we are to ever reverse the trend of sex-selective abortion and high sex ratios, we must work to change the patriarchy-based society which breeds the strong son preference.[117]   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-selective_abortion

 And thus arises the concept of [statistical] ‘missing women’:


Estimates of missing women[edit]

Estimates of implied missing girls, considering the “normal” birth sex ratio to be the 103–107 range, vary considerably between researchers and underlying assumptions for expected post-birth mortality rates for men and women. For example, a 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit.[2][90] For early 1990s, Sen estimated 107 million missing women, Coale estimated 60 million as missing, while Klasen estimated 89 million missing women in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, West Asia and Egypt.[16] Guilmoto,[12] in his 2010 report, uses recent data (except for Pakistan), and estimates a much lower number of missing girls, but notes that the higher sex ratios in numerous countries have created a gender gap – shortage of girls – in the 0–19 age group.

Country Gender gap
0-19 age group (2010)[12]
 % of minor
Region Majority Religion
Afghanistan 265,000 3.0 South Asia Islam
Albania 21,000 4.2 Southeast Europe Islam
Armenia 35,000 8.4 Caucasus Christianity
Azerbaijan 111,000 8.3 Caucasus Islam
Bangladesh 416,000 1.4 South Asia Islam
China 25,112,000 15.0 East Asia  
Georgia 24,000 4.6 Caucasus Christianity
India 12,618,000 5.3 South Asia Hindu
Montenegro 3,000 3.6 Southeast Europe Christianity
Nepal 125,000 1.8 South Asia Hindu
Pakistan 206,000 0.5 South Asia Islam
South Korea 336,000 6.2 East Asia  
Singapore 21,000 3.5 Southeast Asia Buddhist
Viet Nam 139,000 1.0 Southeast Asia Buddhist


 All of which brings up some arresting questions.  Such as, is it possible to commit a gender-crime against a statistical human being that was legally erased as a fetus [whether it was aborted because of gender, or simply because it represented an inconvenience for the mother]?  Outside the context of statistics how can a parent who knows the sex of the fetus and chooses to abort be accused of doing it for the wrong reasons?  And what use is a law forbidding abortion for reasons that can only be known by the person making the decision to abort.

 Maybe I’m wrong, but my understanding is that inside the US a fetus does not become ‘human’, a person with legal rights, until it exits the body of the mother.  It doesn’t even have the rights of a corporation, which, as it happens, is human.

So how the hell can legions of non-human fetuses result in legions of ‘missing women’ after they reach statistical adulthood?

I’ll confess the whole damned thing is too much for my aging comprehension.

Makes me glad I never had an abortion, considering how I might be haunted by legions of missing ghost adults swarming around making statistical nuisances of themselves.

Old Jules


Funny thing about genocide

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I watched Hotel Rwanda and a couple of other Netflix Rwanda movies lately and it got me trying to do some heavy thinking about genocide.  I did a websearch on 20th Century genocides, and while there’s a middling sufficient list, a lot happened that were just too small to mention because they were overshadowed by the bigger ones.  Kurds, for example.  And Ebo tribesmen.    Various Amazonian tribes.  Et al.

Here’s one list I found, and I’m using it because it provides the overall picture without getting too lengthy.

The term ‘Genocide’ was coined by Polish writer and attorney, Raphael Lemkin, in 1941 by combining the Greek word ‘genos’ (race) with the Latin word ‘cide’ (killing). Genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948 means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, including: (a) killing members of the group (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Recent to Past Occurrences

Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1992-1995 – 200,000 Deaths
Rwanda: 1994 – 800,000 Deaths
Pol Pot in Cambodia: 1975-1979 – 2,000,000 Deaths
Nazi Holocaust: 1938-1945 – 6,000,000 Deaths
Rape of Nanking: 1937-1938 – 300,000 Deaths
Stalin’s Forced Famine: 1932-1933 – 7,000,000 Deaths
Armenians in Turkey: 1915-1918 – 1,500,000 Deaths

Sooooo.  You might be wondering by now what’s funny about genocide.  Well, first off, funny might be a poor choice of words.  Strange would be better, if the phenomenon were strange, but it isn’t.  In fact it’s almost as un-strange as war.  Happens so damned frequently it doesn’t even qualify as an anomaly.

A lot of chest-pounding and hand wringing by the outside world tends to happen when genocides occur, a lot of after-the-fact guilt by peoples who didn’t do anything to interfere with it when they could have.  Nations sitting by, fully capable of stopping it, and deliberately not doing so.

You’ve got to admit there’s something funny about that.

Question:  Who didn’t do anything to stop that Turkish killing, for instance, of Armenians? 

Answer:  Everyone on the planet.

Question:  Who didn’t raise a lot of dickens about Stalin’s famine?

Answer:  Surviving Armenians and everyone else.

Question:  Who didn’t do anything about the Rape of Nanking?

Answer:  Well, lessee.  There’s the Armenians, the Russians, and everyone else.

Question:  Who didn’t do anything about Hitler’s holocaust [accepting the fact all the disclaimers about not knowing are unadulterated BS]? 

Answer:   Well, there’s the Armenians, the Russians, the Chinese, and everyone else.

Now it becomes peculiar.  Or more peculiar.  Inscrutable. 

Question:   Who didn’t do anything about Cambodia?

Answer: Well, there’s those Armenians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Israelis and worldwide Jewish communities.  And everyone else.  Same as before but now with a Jewish component.

 Question:   Who didn’t do anything to stop the genocides and atrocities in Rwanda?

Answer:   You guessed it.  The French supplied them with weaponry so’s they wouldn’t have to use machetes, but otherwise it was the usual suspects.  The Armenians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Israelis and the international Jewish community, the Cambodians, and, of course, everyone else.

 So we’re left with only one conclusion:  human beings, despite all their sweetness and light protests, are only mildly opposed to genocide unless it’s happening to some group they, personally belong to.  And frequently they’re wildly enthusiastic about it when it happens to someone they see as an enemy of their group.

Not all that different from war, and one hell of a lot more efficient.

Something worth thinking about when you begin hearing the next genocide’s gearing up.  Listen to what the Armenians, the Russians, the Cambodians, the Jews and Israelis, and the Rwandans are saying.  And watch what they do to intervene.

Old Jules

Afterthought:  There’s a bit of indignation these days about ‘Holocaust Deniers’.  People who say they believe Hitler didn’t kill as many Jews, Gypsies and whatnot, as other people calculate he did.  But nobody much denies what happened in Rwanda, Cambodia, all over the place.  Maybe because nobody much feels guilty about it. 

There was a serial killer named Henry Lucas housed in the Williamson County Jail in Georgetown, TX, when I worked in the building next door.  I used to see them taking him out looking for buried bodies, or returning.  Henry had a partner named Otis Toole, who was in prison in Florida.  The authorities arranged for a reunion between them so’s they could remind one another where they left bodies, who they’d killed and forgotten to mention.

I watched a Williamson County Sheriff’s Department video of when Otis and Henry met in Florida.  Henry had murdered Otis’ sister, or Otis had murdered Henry’s.  The one who did it said tearfully to the other, “I’m so sorry about your sister.”

“It’s okay, Henry [or Otis].  Her time had just come.”

Seems to me Henry Lucas and Otis Toole captured something qualifying as a deeper human character truth in that exchange.  J