While abortion for almost any reason is odious, one of the worst reasons is to select the sex of one’s children. Most of the time, when children are aborted for being the “wrong” sex, it’s girls who never get the opportunity to live. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe writes yesterday:

The unfettered “right to choose” is a progressive value, we are instructed by the abortion lobby – one indispensable to the empowerment of women. But a new study in PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) prompts an awkward question: How exactly are American women empowered when abortion is deployed to prevent the existence of American girls?

How indeed? Jacoby goes on to note that sex-selection abortions are especially prevalent in China and India (I was appalled to read that in the Punjab region of India, the ratio of males to females is 1000-793, a sure-fire formula for social upheaval). In the United States, on the other hand, 86% of the population believe that such abortions should be illegal, something that isn’t likely to happen as long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. What’s disturbing is the importation of the practice of sex-selection abortion into an American setting where there is no legal way to stop them:

[In their PNAS article,] Almond and Edlund examined the ratio of boys to girls among US children born to Chinese, Korean, and Indian parents. For the first children of these Asian-American families, the sex ratio was the normal 1.05-to-1. But when the first baby is a girl, the odds of the second being a boy rose to 1.17-to-1. After two sisters, the likelihood of the third being a son leaped to 1.51-to-1. This is clear “evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage,” the authors write. Prenatal sex tests for pregnant women are now available earlier, more cheaply, and more conveniently than ever, “raising the prospect of sex selection becoming more widely practiced in the near future.”

As long as abortion remains essentially unfettered, American feminists will continue to see an ironic consequence of their absolutist position on the secular sacrament–a growing gap in the number of females born compared to males. Somehow I doubt that’s what feminists such as Susan B. Anthony had in mind.