The Blog

The Lost Girls

Sex-selective abortions are targeting unborn girls by the millions. Feminist orthodoxy at the United Nations is working to protect the practice.

12:00 AM, Mar 21, 2007 • By DOUGLAS A. SYLVA
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CRR was certainly on the scene during the recent negotiations, advising the European Union, China, and India to reject the U.S. resolution condemning the practice. When the United States refused to let the subject drop and demanded that it at least be mentioned in a lesser document, the word abortion was not used and the problem was blamed simply on good-old fashioned male chauvinism--son preference. At the end of the session, in the final U.S. "Explanation of Position," the United States pointedly observed that, "We are happy that the document condemns female infanticide and 'harmful practices of prenatal sex selection,' which is universally understood to include sex-selective abortion, even if some delegations insisted that this practice not be called by its real name."

As strange as it may sound, under President George W. Bush the United States has perhaps the finest feminist record of any nation at the United Nations--if feminism exists to address grave and profound injustices against women. It has been the United States, for instance, which has raised such issues as trafficking in women, sexual exploitation, and sex tourism. It was the United States that attempted to draw the world's attention to mass rapes being conducted in Burma (only to be told that the United Nations would not publicize the U.S. effort because America did not use the current dictator's name for his county, Myanmar). And now the United States is attempting to address sex-selective abortion.

The U.S. Explanation of Position concluded by stating that the outcome of the two weeks of negotiations "lends itself to the impression that the CSW is in danger of becoming a highly politicized body more concerned with preserving its ideological orthodoxy than in solving real problems facing real women and girls today." Seven years into the Bush administration, perhaps the biggest surprise is that the administration itself, remains surprised when its good intentions are once again undermined by such ideological orthodoxy.

Douglas A. Sylva is a senior fellow at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.