I was stunned by this article:
July 08, 2011 (from www.breakpoint.org)
On Sunday, June 26th, CNN aired a heart-breaking report, “Nepal’s
Stolen Children.” The documentary, narrated by actress Demi Moore,
told the story of Nepalese girls who were sold into slavery and turned
into prostitutes in neighboring India.
During the broadcast Moore broke down and cried and spoke about making
sure this kind of thing never happens again.
While no one can diagree with that. The problem is that we are
ignoring an important part of what is driving this inhumane traffic in
That “part” was the subject of a NewYork Times column the day after
the broadcast. The title, “160 Million and Counting,” referred to the
number of “missing” women in the world. Not “missing” as in
“disappeared,” rather, as in “never born in the first place.”
As Times columnist Ross Douthat reminded readers, twenty years ago the
number of “missing” women was estimated by experts to be 100 million.
They examined the skewed sex ratios in places like China and his
native India and rightly concluded that something terrible was
Twenty years later, the estimate has grown by 60 percent and now, as
then, people who ostensibly are concerned about these sorts of things
are still reluctant to name the cause: abortion.
Citing the work of social scientist Mara Hvistendahl, Douthat points
out an uncomfortable truth: what Times readers would no doubt see as
“female empowerment” lies behind the missing women. According to
Hvistendahl, in places like India, “women use their increased
autonomy” to abort their daughters and “select for sons,” who enhance
their social status.
While the practice of sex-selection abortion originated among the more
affluent, it eventually spread down the social ladder. And this brings
us back to the tragedies in Nepal.
The impact of selective abortion goes beyond the lives ended in the
womb, horrid as that is, it affects society. A 2008 article by two
Loyola Law School professors found that by reducing the number of
potential brides, selective abortion in India increased the demand for
And one way that “demand” is being filled is through the Nepalese
girls featured in the CNN documentary. The “lucky” ones are “smuggled
and purchased from poor countries like Nepal and Bhutan to be brides
for Indian men.”
The more unfortunate are sold into the Indian sex trade.
The social ills and the accompanying suffering caused by sex-selection
abortion is why India and China have outlawed the practice. But the
practice and suffering still continues. Cultural norms are hard to
That’s as true in the West as in Asia. Douthat notes that
sex-selection abortion puts Western liberals “in a distinctly
uncomfortable position.” They can’t deny the reality of the practice
but, at the same time, their own worldview leaves them hanging in
After all, they insist “that the unborn aren’t human beings yet, and
that the right to an abortion is nearly absolute.” 160 million missing
women and the suffering that radiates in all directions tells you
where that kind of thinking inevitably leads.
It’s hard to imagine a better example of the poverty of modern
thinking: faced with a great evil and unable to address the answer.
That’s something more to cry about.