The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


The China Syndrome: the effects of selective abortion

posted by jmcgee

What happens when the law only allows one child per family, and most of those — through selective abortion — are male?

This CNN report offers one sobering answer.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 7:16 am


Is this any surprise? I am sure there are those right here in the good old USA and on this blog who find nothing wrong with it.
Once you play God, you face the consequences.



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Panthera

posted June 17, 2010 at 10:03 am


Conservative,
I don’t know anyone liberal Christians who welcome abortion.
Nor do I know any liberals of any stripe who welcome gender-selective procreation.
The whole purpose of comments is for us to exchange and learn from each other.
You began with bashing, right off the top. That is not at all what the Deacon has asked us to do.
Personally, I find the situation absolutely appalling. Unfortunately, it is not only the Chinese who practice such horrible selection – you will find many instances of couples using modern technology to determine the various non-health related aspects of their unborn child in utero and then deciding what to ‘do’ about it right here in the West, too.
It’s forbidden in my country, but it happens. There are any laws directly against it in the US, and we all know it happens.
This is one area where conservative Catholics and liberal Catholics, conservative non-Catholic Christians and liberal Christians are all in agreement.
And you march right in to attack fellow Christians who just don’t happen to see the world exactly through your perspective. Which is frequently divergent from the teachings of the Church.
Please, let’s try to discuss the problem here and what we, as Christians, regardless of our political leanings (and that is the real definition of ‘Conservative’ in your case, I’ve followed your writings to long to believe you really adhere to JPII or B16s profound conservatism) can do to achieve full human rights for women. In China and elsewhere.
[Pan ... Conservative was not bashing. And there's no evidence his comments were directed at you. Take a deep breath and kindly avoid the urge to provoke. Thank you. Dcn. G.]



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted June 17, 2010 at 10:10 am


This is why feminism and abortion ultimately can’t stand side by side. I have been reading about this situation and China and there are some very dire social and cultural implications, far more than the short TV piece can even begin to elucidate.
Panthera is correct in saying that most people would agree on this matter. However, it is a practice that does happen, even where it is not supposed to and as Panthera pointed out.
Tragic all the way around.



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Panthera

posted June 17, 2010 at 10:11 am


Oh, goodness. That will teach me to type before the first cup of coffee.
My apologies for the many typos above.
Conservative, let’s try again. Please, assume good faith on my part. If this should prove true, then you’ve won a decent partner in what needs must be a debate between us.
That’s quite a deal, no?



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Deacon Norb

posted June 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm


I’m kinda glad Dcn Greg posted this. It help in an informative sort of way in trying to understand that we here in the United States are by no means the biggest offenders by nationality on abortion. In fact, we may even be down as low as sixth or seventh in the world. China is certainly ahead of us but India is way up there as well.
What is even more fascinating is that the only traditional religious denominations actually growing in the United States are the Catholic Church (both Byzantine and Roman) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) — both of which take very strong anti-abortion stands.
Then, look at where our largest groups of both legal and illegal immigrants come from: countries and cultures that value children and families. We all know about the immigrants from Latin America but consider that the numbers of the followers of Islam are sharply increasing among our immigrant pool and Islamic folk are very anti-abortion as well.
Finally, folks who are really interested in the social dynamics of this topic have to look at the Supreme Court and note that six of the nine are Roman Catholic.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm


The fact that six justices are Catholic means little. Pelosi is supposedly a Catholic too and look at her pro-choice stance.
The fact that America is not the greatest abortion mill country is no consolation either. It should not be there at all with 4000 abortions estimated daily.
There are many American families who have adopted Chinese girls who were thankfully not aborted. I know at least 5 and they are delighted.
Don’t think Americans are not guilty of selective abortions. Perhaps not often because of gender but certainly in cases of so-called “defects”. Look at the grief Sarah Palin experienced because she gave dared to give birth to a baby with Down’s Syndrome!



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm


I have wondered if the Chinese realize that if you do away with all the females, there will not be any more males after awhile! No more babies of any gender without some females.
Also, as mentioned above, the only children allowed by China for adoption are female. I taught 3 that were adopted from China…one little girl who had been found on a trash heap, and brought to the orphanage. I have often wondered how many girl babies are not taken to an orphanage…
Abortions are not to be wished for.
Deacon Norb: Just curious, you mentioned that the RCC is growing as well as the Mormons in this country. I have read, correct me please if I’m wrong, but the majority now filling the pews of the RCC are the Hispanics, especially in the city churches. In my area that seems to be the case, as those that can afford to, move to the suburbs. Many RC schools are closing, as well as churches.



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Antony

posted June 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm


A young couple I know adopted a baby girl from China 3 years ago. At that time they were told there were one million !!! infant girls in orphanages in China.



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Panthera

posted June 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm


Oh, please, Conservative – could we leave off with the political bashing? Sarah Palin did the right thing. No liberal Christian has attacked her for it.
As far as I know, the status of Speaker Pelosi is between her and her Confessor, it is not up to you to pass judgement upon her.
If we all put .001% as much effort into helping pregnant young women keep their babies to term as we expend on the Culture Wars, we could end the problem of abortion overnight.
It strikes me that the Chinese are practical people who understand the value of money. Maybe we could search for an end to this horror by making it worth their time financially. Sounds crass, but, frankly, I don’t think our religious objections (nor my firm belief that women are of value in and of themselves) cuts much ice in China.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm


Panthera,
Are you kidding me? No liberal Christian attacked Palin for not having an abortion? Plenty did and it was all over the place when she appeared on the national scene.
I was commenting on the fact that six Catholics on the bench does not guarantee any progress on life issues. Loads of those Catholic congresspeople are far from Catholic on life issues.
Pelosi’s record on pro-life issues is abyssmal. I am speaking of the objective evil of her stance. God is the final judge. I think her Bishop has dialoged with her about it as well.



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Panthera

posted June 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm


Facts, please, Conservative, facts. Who, where, when, what said.
I really have trouble seeing God’s love pouring forth from your comments – is there anybody to the left of JPII of whom you have anything good to say? Well, B16 excepted.



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm


Conservative: Just a comment on the 6 Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court. They are there to uphold the law, not to let their personal religion (no matter what it is) influence what is good for all the people in this country. I certainly don’t always agree with them. In the case of Roe V.Wade, I do agree and always have. The Court recognized that it is not the job of the government to tell women what to do with their own bodies. No one forces abortions here nor promotes them, but it is a woman’s right to make her own decisions regarding them. You totally disagree, which is naturally your right. I’m not for abortions, wish they never happened, but they do, for a variety of reasons, none of which need to be explained to anyone. Reverse Roe V. Wade and return to illegal ones or self induced ones? That is a prospect I’d not like to see. That was the past, before R.v. W. I most certanly don’t think they should be used for gender selection……that IMO is totally not a reason (but I don’t live in China.)



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm


Facts, please, Conservative, facts. Who, where, when, what said.
I certainly remember the criticism she received for not having an abortion. Do a search if you want to read some.
I really have trouble seeing God’s love pouring forth from your comments – is there anybody to the left of JPII of whom you have anything good to say? Well, B16 excepted.
I have trouble seeing anything remotely connected to Christianity in your comments. They don’t reflect anything Jesus taught. I have plenty good to say about anyone who follows the teaching of Christ and his Church.



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wineinthewater

posted June 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Panthera,
Many, many liberal Christians attacked/criticized/belittled Palin for her choice. True that I heard it more from individuals than pundits and other public figures, but it was often implicit there as well. I’m no fan of the woman – wish I could be – but she did receive rather unjust treatment in this regard.
The state of Pelosi’s soul is truly between her and God, but we have not just the right, but the obligation to discern the righteousness of her actions. I don’t know her intentions, she seems to earnestly think what she is doing is good, but many of her actions facilitate a great evil. I won’t condemn her, but I won’t turn a blind eye to the reality of what some of her actions are.
I think we do put at least .001% as much effort into helping and encouraging women to keep their babies as we put into the “Culture Wars.” I have never lived in a community that did not have all of the resources available that a woman needed to keep a child if she really wanted. There are many informational barriers and that is a problem. The woman would still have to sacrifice and that too is a problem. But I have never lived in a place where a woman motivated to keep her child absolutely couldn’t because of lack of resources. Now, social pressures, lack of a day-to-day support system, and the austerity that such a choice may require are still areas where we can do more.
And when I think about it, Catholics and the Catholic Church put far more resources into supporting pregnant women and mothers in need than in just “fighting the Culture Wars.” If we are to end abortion, it is going to require a wholesale change in the heart of our culture and its members. Resources and alternatives are only of value to women who want to keep the child, and that simply does not describe all women who ultimately get an abortion.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm


Pagan,
If politicans and justices are not guided by their religious principles in their decisions, they don’t belong where they are. You cannot separate your religion from your politics. If you believed in God you would be aware that someday we will be judged on our actions. Would it be more important in God’s eyes to uphold the 10 Commandments or the Constitution?
As for not having to explain to anyone, we will have to explain to God. I doubt if He will be pleased to hear of anyone destroying a life He created. But then, that’s if you believed in God.



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wineinthewater

posted June 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm


pagansister,
According to the best info available – which may not be good enough to draw this conclusion, but we have to go with what we have – more women die each year from complications from legal abortions than died each year from illegal abortions before RvW. The data on illegal abortions may be incomplete, but it is a difference of orders of magnitude. So, if protecting women is really the intent, women would be safer if we went back to the days of illegal back-alley abortions.



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Panthera

posted June 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm


Sigh.
This is my last post on this thread.
First, Conservative – this is a constitutional republic and not a theocracy. You’ve made very clear that you would rather change this country into a theocracy than to continue the way we have done. Fine, that is your goal. Mine is to defend the constitutional republic against you.
Second, wineinthewater, I have seen the situation for women in the Deep South. What you are saying is simply not true. There are many places where the resources are just plain not there.
Third, a return to coat-hanger abortions? Really? That is the Catholic answer to God’s call to demonstrate our Christian love?
Time for me to leave this thread. When the definition of Christianity is imposition of a theocracy and return to women bleeding out in back-allies, there is no room for discussion.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Panthera wrote: That is the Catholic answer to God’s call to demonstrate our Christian love?
No the Catholic answer is to uphold the sacredness and dignity of every human life made in the image and likeness of God from conception until natural death.
That should not be just the Catholic answer but the only answer. Life is not a Catholic issue it is a human issue. Too bad people can’t treat humans as having a right to live. Wring your hands over the back alley abortions, I will wring mine over the babies torn out of their “mother’s” wombs.



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Conservative

posted June 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm


Deacon Greg,
As long as panthera and pagansister, neither of whom is Catholic, are going to continue to belittle, demean and criticize the Church and those who defend our faith, I for one am out of here. A few posters choose to defend the Catholic position but they seem to be the minority.
I hope you will monitor the Catholic bashing a little more closely in the future. As a Deacon and owner of this blog, I think it is your responsibilty.
Farewell. Let the bashing continue.



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cathyf

posted June 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm


Watching the Chinese demographic catastrophe is fascinating, in a slow-motion train-wreck, gapers-block kind of way. Nobody ever talks about it in these stories, but the “traditional preference for boys” is a really classic example of the great power of trivial evils. In Chinese expectation, the husband’s mother is the head of the household. A wife has no obligation to take care of her own parents (that’s her brothers’ job), but instead an obligatoin to assist her husband in caring for her in-laws. A huge motivation for Chinese women to kill their daughters in order to get sons seems to boil down to the fact that a son is the only way to get a daughter-in-law and become the head of a household. And the only way for a woman to get any payback for enduring her b**ch of a mother-in-law is to become a b**ch of a mother-in-law.
It’s hard to see how this relationship expectation can hold. A million extra men means that a woman can be picky — and “his mama is a b**ch” is a handy criteria as a first pass cut-off. And then “willing to get on board with the notion that we both take care of both sets of parents/grandparent” is the next biggie. I predict that huge changes are coming to social expectations in China — it’s that whole Law of Supply and Demand thing!
It’s also useful to compare this to India, which also has a big problem with sex-selecting abortions and infanticide. Whereas in China you have the young man who is the only great-grandchild of 8 great-grandparents, and is facing an adulthood of responsibility for all of these elders, Indian family structure is different. There it might look something more like the family that had 20 children, 10 boys and 10 girls. They killed 9 of the girls. So when the children reach adulthood, the girl and the oldest son marry, and the other 9 boys work to help earn the dowry for the surviving daughter. As “extras” they don’t have much hope of marriage and families, their married brother and sister are responsible for eldercare, so they are ready to go somewhere and start a war.
Solving the demographic problem with a war is of course always the danger of too many loose-at-ends young males. Imagine starting a war with North Korea — you kill off a bunch of their men so that they have a surplus of women, and you kill off a bunch of your men so that the surplus of women is closer to the right size…



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wineinthewater

posted June 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm


Panthera,
You may very well be right about the situation in the Deep South, it’s not a region where I have direct experience. If that is the case then we need to remedy it. However, I have heard the exact same assertion made about places where I have lived and knew that the resources were available. Even when the resources are available, I will not deny that information remains a problem.
As to your abortion comment, that is a vastly uncharitable interpretation of what I said. I said that fewer women died in the days of illegal abortions than die with legal abortion today and therefore if protecting women from botched abortions is really a motivator, then making abortion illegal will do more to protect women from bad abortions than the status quo does. I don’t suggest going back to anything.
I suggest moving forward to a future where no woman and no child is killed by an abortion .. legal or illegal. Brandish all the gruesome implements you want, the reality is that our own history has shown us that when abortion is illegal not only do fewer children die, fewer mothers die too.



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm


Conservative, please point out where I have belittled the RCC? I state my opinions…not put down or made fun of your beliefs. Thank you.
If I indeed had no respect for the RC, I certainly wouldn’t have spent 10 years teaching kindergarten in a Catholic elementary school. Believe me, it wasn’t for the salary…more money can be made teaching in a public school.
I do disagree with you on the fact that the personal religion of a Justice should influence a decision on a case. Laws that impact all citizens shouldn’t be made on the basis of a person’s religion, but on the legal ramifications of the law. This country should keep those 2 separate from each other.
Have a good night.



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm


wineinthewater:
I have no numbers to know about more women dying from legal abortions than in the days of non-legal ones. As you have stated, it would be better if none happened, and I totally agree, it would be better and certainly to be desired. Having personally known several women who made the horrific decision to have one, none of whom died, they didn’t regret their decision later. It was something that had to be done due to circumstances they were in. Too many details to explain, but believe me when I tell you, they were not snap-decisions. Of course I realize that in the eyes of the RCC, there is never a reason to terminate a pregnancy, and I respect that. None of these women happened to be RC.
I would like to see a day (probably won’t) when there are no abortions. That would be ideal. Alternatives should always be offered to women considering an abortion. But I can’t agree that it should be made illegal.



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 8:32 pm


Deacon Kandra,
Some who post here feel that since I don’t happen to be Catholic, then my opinions shouldn’t be expressed on this site. I know that you monitor this, your site, as you should. If I had been making derogatory statements, I expect you would have removed them.
Hope your evening is a good one.
[Pagan...You're correct. Dcn. G.]



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pagansister

posted June 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm


Thank you for responding, Deacon. It is appreciated.:o)



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cathyf

posted June 18, 2010 at 1:33 am


As a Catholic who once lived in the deep south, what I found most striking about the fundamentalist protestants who made up about 98% of my neighbors was just how tolerant they were of teenaged mothers. On any random Sunday you could get a good rip-roaring fire-and-brimstone rant about the evil corporations that give gay partners company benefits, but the slightest whisper that fornication was even an unwise choice, let alone a sin? Never to be heard…



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Deacon Norb

posted June 18, 2010 at 3:16 am


Response to Pagansister — a lot of postings back.
A couple of forces are at work here that you may not have considered.
A lot of those wonderful urban neighborhood parishes within our church are dying out. It is real simple. They were founded by Ellis Island immigrants maybe a century ago; the second generation moved to the suburbs maybe 50 years ago. When the immigrant generation started dying off or being moved to nursing homes, the houses went up for sale. The various cultural minorities who had never been homeowners moved in and — depending upon the city — the new owners were Hispanic OR African-American OR Asian OR just about anyone who would want to own their own home on the cheap. There are a LOT of urban parishes that do survive quite well, thank you, but that is because they have welcomed their changing urban communities.
YES, our largest and fastest growing dioceses are in the southwest and those new immigrants tend to be Hispanic. That may not be true in Washington DC where the largest group of new Catholics brought into our faith last Holy Saturday were African American. But out in the suburbs of DC, the story is quite different. I look at thriving places like St. Bernadette in Springfield or Holy Trinity in Burke and the congregants are the most wildly diverse folk I have ever seen in a Catholic Mass anywhere. I could also think about the large number of Catholic Vietnamese in coastal Louisiana or a growing number of Native American Roman Catholics in places like rural Alaska and the area around Gallup NM.
We are “catholic” because we are “universal.”



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pagansister

posted June 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm


Deacon NOrb:
Thanks for responding. Excellent points. The church connected with the RC school I taught in was originally Irish,(90 to 100 year old church). It is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in…with an organ to die for. Spent 10 years going to Mass every month with the children. I live in RI,( which is predominately Catholic)right outside Providence. I think there might be a Catholic church on almost every corner! The school I taught in is in Providence and is one of the few still open, as many of the Catholic schools didn’t have enough children attending to make them viable. My former school has gotten many of the students from those closed schools. Many Hispanics in this area.



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