by Marissa Poisson
Over the weekend, I read an article that describes the writer’s experience in a Chinese village during and shortly after the birth of a baby girl. I found the whole article very moving and the following passage especially striking:
“Doing [killing] a baby girl is not a big thing around here. You city folk are shocked the first time you see it, right?” the older woman said comfortingly, obviously seeing how shocked I was.
“That’s a living child!” I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. I was still so shocked, I didn’t dare to move.
“It’s not a child,” she corrected me.
“What do you mean, it’s not a child? I saw it.” I could scarcely believe that she could tell me such a blatant lie!
“It’s not a child. If it was, we’d be looking after it, wouldn’t we?” she interrupted. “It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it.”
“A girl baby isn’t a child, and you can’t keep it?” I repeated uncomprehendingly.
Try substituting the word “preborn” for “girl” in the above, and I think you’ll find it applies quite handily to the West. After all, killing a preborn baby cannot be a big thing around here, given the rate at which it’s done. Those unaccustomed to the practice may instinctively find it revolting, but those who have embraced modern cultural values can assure us that it’s perfectly normal. It may seem self-evident that the preborn are living children, but they must not be since we’re not looking after them.
In some cultures, girl babies don’t count if their families wanted a boy and are routinely disposed of. Here, both boy and girl preborn babies don’t count if they are deemed unwanted and are routinely disposed of. Is that the difference between the developing and developed world? Does killing earlier and without discriminating between the sexes make us any more civilized?