You may have heard that Oklahoma recently banned sex-selection abortions.  Interestingly, they are only the third state to do so (Illinois and Pennsylvania are the other two).  Considering the fact that the only major news source to pick up the story was the Washington Times, however, you probably have not heard that The National Board of Health and Welfare of Sweden has ruled that sex-selection abortions are legal in that country (since there is no law forbidding them).  Apparently, quite a few “tourists” come to Sweden to abort their children because they do not like their gender.

The vast majority of Americans – even pro-choice Americans – disapprove of sex-selection abortions.  Polls show that about 85% of Americans believe aborting a child because of its gender is a morally insufficient reason (and many countries ban the practice).  But why?  After all, if abortion is not a moral evil, what does it matter why a woman chooses to abort her baby?

Journalist David Harsanyi asked this very question in a recent article in the Denver Post.  An atheist, and former pro-choicer (one might describe his current position as “squeamishly pro-life”), Harsanyi asks, “If you oppose selective abortions, but not abortion overall, I wonder why?  How is terminating the fetus because it’s the wrong sex any worse than terminating the fetus for convenience’s sake?  The fate of the fetus does not change, only the reasoning for its extinction does.”[1]

Indeed.  What’s the difference between aborting her baby because she won’t be able to finish school, and aborting her baby so she can fit into her prom dress?  And what’s the difference between aborting her baby because of financial considerations, and aborting her baby because she wanted a boy rather than a girl?  In all cases, and for all reasons, the result is the same: a dead baby.  If it is legal for a mother to kill a baby simply because she does not want it, the reason she does not want it is irrelevant.  Either it is wrong to kill the unborn, or it is not.  If it is not wrong, then women she be able to kill their babies for any reason they see fit.

[1]David Harsanyi, “Abortion Debate Changing”; available from; Internet; accessed 29 May 2009.