I wasn’t going to post this but it’s been bugging me all day and I just wanted to throw it out there for my readers in case I’m totally missing something. Please pardon my indulgence in this most controversial of topics.
The BBC has a story about the recent historical arrest of an Indian abortion doctor who specialized in aborting female fetuses since families over there strongly prefer to have boys. According to the article, “Audio and video evidence showed the doctor telling one [decoy patient] that tests had revealed that she was carrying a ‘female fetus and it would be taken care of’.” (Whoever that decoy patient was has incredible guts. I couldn’t do it.)
I’ve thought about this issue a lot over the years ever since my friend from India told me nonchalantly how common abortions on female babies are in India (hence it’s illegal to reveal the gender of the baby in the ultrasound over there). When I recounted this fact to my friends (who were almost entirely pro-choice) they all reacted with horror. I didn’t understand how you could reconcile the two views of being pro “a woman’s right to choose” but feeling like what goes on in India is wrong. I’ve never figured it out, and coming across this story today reminded me of that.
For a pro-choice activist, Dr. Sabhani is a hero, right? How dare the Indian government infringe on women’s rights to choose, right? Since it’s all just tissue anyway this is no different than a dermatologist who removes basal cell but not squamous cell lesions…right?
But I don’t think the Indian embassy needs to worry about being bombarded with pro-choice protesters any time soon. In fact, the little bit of looking I did on pro-choice sites showed no discussion of this story at all. If these people really believe what they say they believe, that women should be able to make their own choice about a pregnancy — period — then this guy is a hero and they need to get out there and support him and his practice. And if that’s not their reaction, if they’re uncomfortable with what he does, how do they explain it?
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