Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The upside of female feticide


It would seem to be the greatest irony of abortion, that the foremost tool feminists say will facilitate women's equality with men is actually the foremost weapon used to kill them.

The crisis of female feticide is growing to such an extent in Third World countries that by 2020 there will be more unmarried Chinese men than the total population of females in Taiwan and South Korea combined.

Yet the National Organzation for Women and Planned Parenthood are silent.

That's because there's money to be made by harvesting eggs from aborted girls.

That's the upside.

Researchers note that one way the Chinese government has dealt with male-female disparities in the past was to send the testosterone-laden, aggressive, single men off to foreign wars that the government created to give them something to do.

That's the downside.

Read my column today, "The upside of female feticide," on


Skeeter 4:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
So-Called Austin Mayor 4:54 PM  

"by 2020 there will be more unmarried Chinese men than the total population of females in Taiwan and South Korea combined."

To say that this compares apples and oranges would not do justice to this juxtaposed non sequitur.

Anonymous,  5:01 PM  

This is total and complete nonsense. But, I guess that's to be expected from worldnetdaily. Doesn't Jeff Gannon work for them?

Pat Collins 5:11 PM  

Don't be so quick to critize. A mid 19th centry rebellion in China was laid in part on the large number of unmarried males. (due then to rich men have multiple wives, who had multiple maids, taking girls "off the market").

Don't think for a MOMENT that Beijing is unaware of this. it's also a problem in India.

Jill Stanek 5:11 PM  

Mayor, justify your "apples and oranges" comment.

Anon, justify your "complete nonsense" comment.

Bill Baar 5:40 PM  

The problem of infanticide of female babies in China is well known and many are talking about the problems it will create. (Not to mention the morality of it).

Here's a powerpoint from Population Reference Bureau in Wash DC about it.

Do a google search Austin if you doubt it.

The 21st century should be the Chinese Century but it's catastrophes like this one that will doom them.

Larry Horse 11:04 PM  

I am not saying that there isn't any female feticide, but recent research has shown that it would only explains a very small portion of the sex imbalance. By far and away the major cause for the imbalance appears to Hepatitis B, which disproportionately leads to miscarriages of female fetuses (read on it here ).

Plus, the surplus of males will not lead to China declaring war on us. Because of the one-child policy over a couple generations, we see families having 1 grandchild per 4 grandparents, which means that China is potentially facing a pension system crunch that makes our Social Security crisis look like peanuts. There is no way they want to have those extra males die in war because they need them to work productively to support the huge numbers of elderly that China will be dealing with.

Of course even if one unborn girl is aborted or one born girl abandoned for her gender, it is a tragedy, but the data does not support the assertion that the practice is at all wide spread. While you are right to criticize the practice in general, saying that it is the cause of China's significant imbalance or that it will lead China to go to war with us is just not factually true.

Larry Horse 11:08 PM  

Also, if the gender imbalance (which again is not really much at all due to abortion or infanticide, although China's overall abortion rates are distressing) leads to the men having an internal rebellion and overthrowing their communist oppressors, isn't that a good thing? I don't see why that isn't as likely an outcome of the imbalance if you believe that China starting foreign wars is a likely outcome.

Jill Stanek 9:09 AM  

Larry Horse, you can go to Slate for propagandic, so-called natural explanations for the gender imbalance in Third World countries.

But doing so ignores history, which documents purposeful killing of females, then at birth, now before birth.

And doing so ignores UN findings, filmed documentaries, and overwhelming evidence by independent sources - all of which points the finger to feticide and infanticide as the primary reason for the male/female disproportion. Plus, don't forget the people themselves, who admit they do it.

Why in the world have both India and China declared female feticide a crime if it's not a problem?

As to how it will come to a head in China - by civil unrest or government-orchestrated foreign wars - all you and I know is that both are documented to have occurred. Logic would indicate that the government would opt for the latter while it is still in control, rather than await its usurpment.

Skeeter 10:19 AM  

I love the irony of a woman who got where she was only because of groups like NOW turning her back on them.

Do you think you would have any chance to compete in the U.S. without NOW?

What was the status of women in this country before groups like NOW?

You might want to at least say thank you.

Incidently, the "foremost tool" is not "female feticide" but "equal pay for equal work" and "breaking the glass ceiling."

Anonymous,  10:28 AM  

Amazing how the UN is suddenly such a wonderful ally. How about a big pat on the back to the UN for all the very important work they've done, and continue to do, to protect the reproductive rights of women around the world? Keeping the facists out of the bedrooms and bodies of women, now there's a reason to love the UN.

Jill Stanek 10:54 AM  

Skeeter (at the risk of provoking Proverbs 29:9), restudy Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, if you even know what it is.

A prerequisite for broaching the glass ceiling is being born to have the chance to knock on it.

Larry Horse 10:54 AM  


I happen to be pro-Life myself and believe that abortion should be legal only in cases of rape and to protect the mother's life. I'm pro-Life because I think that an abortion is the unjust taking of an innocent life, no different than killing a child after it's been born.

I don't need to make things up like the huge gender disparity in China is due to sex-selective abortion when factual statistics say that it is not true and that the disparity is more than 75%explained by Hepatitis B (I linked to slate because I thought their summary would be easier to read than the 60 page economics paper that goes into details about statistical analysis, but here is the link to that: ). Moreover, I don't need to make up things like saying that abortion will cause China to start foreign wars when simple logic tells you that they need their young men to provide for their aging population.

Personally, the fact that an abortion is an unjustified killing is enough to make me pro-Life, and I don't need untrue radical claims to convince me any more. It is people like you Jill that often make me embarassed to tell people that I am pro-Life.

Skeeter 11:35 AM  

Jill Stanek said...
"Skeeter (at the risk of provoking Proverbs 29:9), restudy Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, if you even know what it is.

A prerequisite for broaching the glass ceiling is being born to have the chance to knock on it."

First, I thank you for the condescending tone of your comment. It is a great reminder of who am I dealing with.

Second, I'm not really clear on your point.

How would you be doing without the work of NOW? Do you think you would be allowed to write and to speak out without people like NOW?

You might want to say thank you.

Here's a hint: It would be polite to say "I thank NOW for all the work done on behalf of women, and I acknowledge that without NOW I probably would never had any opportunity to compete with men, but we differ on some issues."

Of course, that would require showing some humility. It would require you to acknowledge assistance from people you do not like. It would require you to disagree in a manner that is agreeable. That is not your style though, is it? You talk about values, but you don't really feel they apply to your own conduct, do you?

Skeeter 11:40 AM  

Larry Horse,

What a great comment. I completely agree. The problem with the allegedly pro-life people is the conduct of the allegedly pro-life people. It is a great issue if we could take it out of the hands of the Jill Stanek's of the world. Every time they tell a lie they hurt the cause.

Anonymous,  12:41 PM  


You both have hit it on the head. If you're pro-life it is incumbent upon you to take back this issue from the shrill, "lie, cheat and steal if needed" element that has hijacked the debate. I'm not saying that everyone of my point of view is going to come over to your side as a result, but at least we could finally reach a point where the the issue can be dealt with honestly. And as Horse said disagree in an agreeable, honest manner.

Bill Baar 1:12 PM  

At Twain said, there are lies, damn lies, and then statistics. I think the Oster essay (not peer reviewed research either) if not a lie, is based on some questionalbe data.

Here's what a peer said about it,

Robert Barro's enthusiasm for the findings of Harvard University colleague Emily Oster's research on sex ratios in the population ("The case of Asia's missing women," Economic Viewpoint, Feb. 28) might have been considerably tempered had he paid more attention to one of the key publications cited as evidence of the link between sex ratios and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The article by Anouch Chahnazarian and others cited by Oster is instructive because it summarizes data from four population studies -- all taken in the 1970s -- in which there are several problems, including samples that are "generally small," "differential underreporting of girls," and "subdetectable" levels of HBV infection. Thus the quality of the data in two samples is identified as "probably fair" and in the other two as "probably poorer" or "unknown."

In one of the four studies, the difference between the norm sex ratio of 106 and the sex ratio of children born to parents at least one of whom was an HBV carrier was not statistically significant. In one other study, no such comparison was possible because the fathers were not fully identified. Further, in three of the four studies where only the mother was identified as a carrier, there were no statistically significant differences reported. And there were only 27 children born to 17 families in the one study where the sex ratio was higher than the norm and statistically significant.

Most telling, all four of the studies in which the HBV testing was done at the time of the interviews are retrospective: No one knows whether the carrier parents were infected when the mother was pregnant and gave birth. For that reason, none of these studies establishes a clear linkage between HBV infection and sex ratios, and Oster's assertion simply is not supported in three of the four studies reported by Chahnazarian. Oster herself admits "there is uncertainty about the biological mechanism" regarding the linkage. Barro in effect is reinforcing Oster's fundamental error of attempting to say more than the data allow.

Dr. Meade O'Boyle
Edward O'Boyle
Mayo Research Institute
West Monroe, La.

Anonymous,  2:20 PM  

If your definition of "questionable data" is so broad that a letter to the editor of Business Week that questions one cited source in a 60 page paper that lists over five pages of citations, then yes it is questionable data.

Not like that dead solid material in WorldNetDaily.

Bill Baar 2:58 PM  

Read again anon 2:20. O'Boyle questions all four: Most telling, all four of the studies in which the HBV testing was done at the time of the interviews are retrospective: No one knows whether the carrier parents were infected when the mother was pregnant and gave birth. For that reason, none of these studies establishes a clear linkage between HBV infection and sex ratios, and Oster's assertion simply is not supported in three of the four studies reported by Chahnazarian.

Anonymous,  3:07 PM  

Read again Bill, Chahnazarian's studies are only one of the sources cited in the 5 pages of citations in Oster's paper. O'Boyle was responding to Barro's short interpretation of the paper rather than the paper itself. Just as you're defending a letter to the editor as the last word on the issue rather than addressing the methodology of the paper as a whole.

Bill Baar 3:24 PM  

Yeah, but they were the only ones with numbers, with data... that's what a meta study is... collect old studies an run the numbers.

In this case the numbers flawed because we don't know if the mother was HBV postive before giving birth. All four were retrospective tests.

A paper by an Econ Grad student does not reality make.

Anonymous,  3:29 PM  

One opinion that Chahnazarian's studies were flawed does not a refutation make. I know you can't produce another one, because another published one doesn't exist. What do you know of O'Boyle other than the letter you found in a Google search today? What other of Chahnazarian's research have you read? Who peer reviewed the original research?

You make assumptions based on one letter to the editor and expect that to be the final answer.

Bill Baar 4:24 PM  

I don't think any of this research correlating HBV and birth ratios was peer reviewed in any medical or economics journals.

Oster is an Econ Grad student at Harvard and is the only person I can see who's suggested there is a link between HBV infections and birth ratios.

My guess is Medical Researchers don't take Oster as doing credible medical research.

As an old Leftist (perplexed with today's left), I'm sticking with Amartya Sen's original proposition back in 1992: This [missing women] is due to the profound inequalities between women and men.

Here's Sen's more recent Editorial on it in the British Medical Journal.

Note the disparity Sen finds in the ratio within India.

Sen does not discuss HBV prevelance --which I guess would geographically even throughout India but don't know for sure-- and correlations with male-female ratios, but he does note a correlation between a more normal expected ratio in India's North and West, and voting for right wing political parties,

A simple but imperfect indication of this can be seen in the fact that in the last general elections (held in 1999), 169 of the 197 parliamentary members of the Hindu right wing parties were elected precisely from northern and western states? Or is all this purely coincidental, especially since the rise of religion centred politics and the emergence of female feticide are both quite new in the parts of India where they have suddenly become common. We do not know the answer to any of these questions, nor to a great many others that can be sensibly asked. Sex bias in natality calls for intensive research today in the same way that sex bias in mortality—the earlier source of "missing women"—did more than a decade ago when I was privileged to write in these pages.

Now, search the blog for my link on Americn fetility rates and red-blue voting patterns in the US.

Interesting stuff statistics...

Bill Baar 4:33 PM  

From Fertile Ground by Charles Mahtesian,

Democratic strength is concentrated in states with low fertility and low marriage rates, which wouldn't be a problem if these places were attracting large numbers of new residents. But most are not, at least when compared with the fastest-growing states, and that will have consequences after the next decennial census when congressional seats (and thus electoral votes) are reallocated according to population. Based on 2004 population estimates, Poli-data of Lake Ridge, Va., a political data analysis firm, projects that nine states will lose House seats after the next census - all but two of them voted for Kerry. Seven will gain seats - all but one of them carried by Bush. In 2012, even if every state voted the same way it did in 2004, there would be a net gain of six electoral votes for the GOP ticket based on these projections.

Anonymous,  5:06 PM  

At least you bothered to do some actual research here, that's my point. It's too easy to take one letter in one publication and claim it as your own moral high ground. Oster's research has not been peer reviewed (as far as I can tell from the relevant journals); however, Chahnazarian's has and remember it's the one letter calling HIS research into question that you've been using to make your case. The whole "econ grad student" gambit being a fallback when you couldn't find anyone else questioning his data.
I don't have a dog in this fight the way that you do, I would just like to see Rupublicans be honest enough to admit that they do love big government and over regulation when it comes to how people choose to lead their personal lives.

Jonah 7:53 PM  

Larry Horse- if a fetus is a person, why would you be willing to kill it just because its father was a rapist?
In parts of India, the Indian Government is paying people to have girls.

Bill Baar 8:11 PM  

anon 5:06 The problem with your comment on big gov and over regulation of people, is who do you include under that label of people?

We fought a civil war in America, in large to resolve the question of just who were full people.

Jill includes the unborn as people.

So let's be honest about what Jill believes here.

She thinks abortion is murder.

It's nothing to do with big government, or little government or left or right, or conservative or liberal.

It you think the unborn are people, any kind of government is obligated to protect them.

I think that's the honest comment on Jill's posts. She can tell me if I've got it wrong.

Larry Horse 10:38 PM  

The paper by Oster was peer reviewed and was published in the Journal of Political Economy in December (here is the Table of Contents link, but you may need to be a subscriber to access it from the JPE website, which is why I linked from the Harvard page before). JPE is one of the most well-respected economic journals, and getting published in it can be as prestigious as being published in AER or QJE. It is sound peer-reviewed economic research research.

I support the right to abort for women who were raped because I believe that since the child has no right to be in the woman's womb (as she did not voluntarily partake in the act that resulted in it being in there), the mother has the right to remove the child from the womb. It is similar as if someone with mental problems invaded your house. He has no right to be there even though, due to his mental conditions, it's not his fault that he's in the house. Just as you would have the right to remove that person from your house because he has no right to be there, a raped woman has the right to an abortion because the fetus has no right to be there.

On the other hand, if a woman became pregnant through a fully voluntary decision to have sex, then I believe that the child has the right to develop in her womb and that its right to life trumps the right of the woman over her body. That being said, I also believe that the government should make birth control freely and easily available to all people so that women can voluntarily have sex without getting pregnant (or at least reducing the risk to less than 1%), just as men can.

Larry Horse 11:13 PM  

Note that AER = American Economic Review and QJE = Quarterly Journal of Economics. They are like the Science and Nature of Economics (and Emily Oster has been published in QJE, which is an amazing accomplishment for a grad student).

Jill Stanek 2:37 AM  

Skeeter, 11:35a: The feminists I respect are its founders.

Suffragist Susan B. Anthony, 1869: "The woman is awfully guilty who commits [abortion]. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death."

Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1873: "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

Relevant observation in Jan. 21's World Magazine: "Since 1973, more than 20 million American women have arrived not as infant girls who would grow to enjoy hard-won freedoms, but as medical waste. Today's pro-abortion feminists, though, seem willfully blind to that fact and to their own ties with foremothers who, as feminist pioneer Alice Paul said, saw abortion as 'the ultimate exploitation of women.'"

Skeeter 8:37 AM  

Ms. Stanek:
Are you claiming the answer to the equal work for equal pay is more people? If not, then I'm not clear on your post.

Also, I note that your post did not acknowledge that before the people from NOW stepped forward, people like you would never be allowed to speak up.

You really might want to show some gratitude.

Jill Stanek 8:49 AM  

Larry Horse, 10:38p: Let's see if I understand.

You say that if a "child" (your word) is conceived through nonconsentual sex, that "child" is a trespasser on (in?) private property because of her evil father, and she should be killed.

If, however, a "child" is conceived through consentual sex - even if her mother is surprised to be pregnant and does want that "child" - that "child's right to life trumps the right of the woman over her body," again quoting you, and she should be allowed to trespass on (in?) her mother's private property until labor and delivery force her off.

Is this what you said?

Larry Horse 11:36 AM  


If a child is conceived through rape, then it has no right to be in the mother's womb even though it did not choose to be there (which is why I used the analogy of a mentally disturbed person who breaks into your house. Even though he isn't in control of his actions and therefore couldn't choose to break into the house, the fact that he is in your house without the right to be there gives you the right to remove him.) Since the child has no right to be in the womb, the mother has the right to remove it from there. Tragically, doing so does kill the unborn child, and some moral systems may argue that the fact that removal results in death would make the action immoral. However, the woman should have the legal right to remove the child from there since she did not consent in the act that resulted in its being there. Ideally, this is why all hospitals and police stations should have Emergency contraception on hand and why pharmacies should be able to carry Emergency Contraception so that the woman can make sure that she doesn't get pregnant immediately after rape so that she isn't in the horrible decision of having to abort a child, that while hers, was not conceived with her consent.

Larry Horse 11:38 AM  

I meant Emergency contraception over the counter in pharmacies.

And Jill, I do agree with you that it is disgusting and unethical to harvest eggs from aborted fetuses.

Jill Stanek 5:32 PM  

Larry Horse, while I appreciate that you agree it is "disgusting and unethical" to harvest eggs from aborted fetuses, it rings hollow when you do not find it disgusting and unethical to abort some of those fetuses in the first place, which you agree are innocent human beings.

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