May 11th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

SPECIAL FEATURE: Academics' venom signals climate scare's end

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Both government and opposition facing moment of truth

EDITORIAL: Three constitutional amendment proposals before the PM

NEW ZEALAND: NZ parliament's same-sex 'marriage' vote analysed

UNITED STATES: The Boston Marathon bombing in perspective

MEDIA: Experts blamed 'right-wing terrorists' for Boston bombings

PRIMARY INDUSTRY: Fruit-canning industry laid waste by cheap imports

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Currency, manufacturing and trade policy

CLIMATE CHANGE: Why EU emissions trading scheme faces collapse

OPINION: Defence strategy must not ignore the lessons of history

HUMAN RIGHTS: China's grisly organ theft: their crime, our shame

LIFE ISSUES: Killed for being the wrong gender

CULTURE: Australia's intellectual left under scrutiny


CINEMA: Compelling story of a tormented superhero

BOOK REVIEW The economist who became a Christian

BOOK REVIEW Out of shadows and illusions into reality

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Killed for being the wrong gender

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 11, 2013

A bill being debated in a Senate inquiry on gender-selection abortion is most timely given the headline in Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun (April 28, 2013). It reads: “Couple abort girl because they wanted a boy”. Definition of barbarism: killing a human being simply because selfish adults wanted one of a different sex.

Victorian DLP Senator John Madigan’s bill seeks to end this very thing by banning Medicare rebates for
gender-selective abortions. I discussed it in a recent post of mine, “Say no to sex-selection abortions” (CultureWatch, April 22, 2013).

But the recent Melbourne front-page story reminds us of the urgency of all this. While all abortions kill an innocent human being, and thus all should be banned, this particular excuse for baby-killing is especially reprehensible. Here is how the story begins:

“A Melbourne doctor has blown the whistle on parents who demanded an abortion — because they didn’t want a girl. And obstetricians have proposed keeping the sex of unborn babies secret until it is too late to terminate, to prevent gender-based abortions.

“In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Herald Sun, Dr Mark Hobart revealed a Melbourne couple had asked him to refer them to an abortion clinic after discovering at 19 weeks they were having a girl, when they wanted a boy.

“Dr Hobart said he refused to give them a referral and reported the specialist, who later terminated the pregnancy, to the Medical Board. ‘The parents were upfront and told me that was the reason for the abortion,’ Dr Hobart said. ‘I was dumbfounded. To get a request for an abortion for that reason, I just couldn’t believe it. It was the husband who did all the talking — he was so insistent.’

“Despite being refused a referral by Dr Hobart, the woman had an abortion a few days later. The Medical Board told Dr Hobart on Friday it would not pursue the matter because Victorian doctors are allowed to terminate pregnancies of up to 24 weeks.

“One of Melbourne’s biggest abortion clinics has revealed that couples have requested abortions on gender grounds — although it is ‘extremely rare’ and always refused. And a Senate committee is inquiring into draft legislation prepared by ‘pro-life’ Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan, which would ban Medicare rebates for gender-selective abortions.

“The inquiry is also investigating ‘the prevalence of gender selection — with preference for a male child — among some ethnic groups’. Senator Madigan said that ‘we do know there are cultures where a boy is preferred over a girl’, although he did not have statistics on the prevalence in Australia.”

The article continues: “The National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has suggested that laboratories that perform publicly funded chromosomal tests during pregnancy be banned from revealing the sex of the embryo until after 20 weeks, except in cases of gender-based diseases such as haemophilia. ‘You don’t keep the test results secret, you just keep the sex secret,’ association president Andrew Foote told the Sunday Herald Sun.”

However, “Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said women had the right to know everything about their pregnancy.”

Oh really? Do you mean that? Oh, so you will then fully and properly inform each woman about this living, growing human being in her womb, and what bloody and barbaric methods are used to kill this unborn baby?

Why do I suspect that this is somehow not at all what he has in mind? Truth in advertising is sorely missing in the abortion industry. And genuine informed consent is also quite rare, since women are hardly ever told anything other than the standard pro-death PC line: ‘Oh, it’s just a clump of cells, and we can fix you up in no time’.

May I suggest that if we really did inform women about everything they needed to know about their pregnancies, we would have far fewer abortions. Indeed, that is exactly how we seek to prevent or curtail other ugly activities.

As one commentator put it: “It is understandable why the distribution of graphic literature describing and depicting [abortion] makes pro-choice people uncomfortable. They don’t like to see their dirty trade secrets revealed any more than a fur-seller wants to find a poster of a trapped, dying animal hanging on his showroom window. Both remind us that someone else suffered tremendous pain and agony so we can have our lifestyles of convenience or comfort.”

And some of the more honest pro-abortionists do admit that abortion takes a human life. Feminist Naomi Wolf, for example, conceded 18 years ago that the “pro-life slogan, ‘Abortion stops a beating heart’ is incontrovertibly true. While images of violent fetal death work magnificently for pro-lifers as political polemic, the pictures are not polemical in themselves: they are biological facts. We know this.” (“Our bodies, our souls”, New Republic, October 16, 1995).

Another significant factor which gives lie to the claim that the unborn baby is simply a collection of cells is post-abortion trauma and guilt. If a foetus is indeed just a blob of tissue, then why all the trauma, why all the guilt? When an appendix is removed, no one experiences guilt — a little pain perhaps, but no psychological and emotional upheavals.

As F. LaGard Smith remarked in his 1990 book, When Choice Becomes God, “Guilt about abortions was not invented by the pope.” Such guilt seems to be a universal condition.

As another commentator, John Leo, put it in the 1998 edition of his book, Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police, “Findings such as these do not constitute an argument against abortion. But they certainly tell us we are not in the realm of tonsillectomies.”

The ironies of the pro-choicers are indeed incredible. We can choose to have a baby, or dispose of it, but it is no longer politically correct to choose to wear a fur coat. In America, teenagers need parental permission to get their ears pierced, but not to get an abortion. Outside the womb, child abuse is clearly not an option; inside the womb it’s “a woman’s right to choose”.

As one observer, Winifred Egan, once put it, “What irony that a society confronted with plastic bags filled with the remains of aborted babies should be more concerned about the problem of recycling the plastic.”

Once we have descended this far into depravity, it is not surprising that a calloused and hardened culture can actually condone and seek sex-selection abortions. A vote line which accompanied the Sunday Herald Sun story quoted in this article found, on the day it was published, that 96 per cent (2,400 voters) are against sex-selection while four per cent (100) are in favour. While it is great to see a landslide of support for halting this heinous practice, what are we to make of these 100 people who actually support it?

As Peter Kreeft put it in a 1997 essay, “If we do not see the awfulness of abortion, that is not because the facts and arguments are unclear but because our own consciences are unclear. Mother Teresa says, ‘Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother.’ Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: half the babies and all the mothers.”

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at:



Natasha Bita, “Couple abort girl because they wanted a boy”, Herald Sun (Melbourne), April 28, 2013.

Bill Muehlenberg, “Say no to sex-selection abortions”, CultureWatch, April 22, 2013.

Naomi Wolf, “Our bodies, our souls”, New Republic (Washington DC), October 16, 1995, reprinted in the New Statesman (London), January 27, 2013.

F. LaGard Smith, When Choice Becomes God (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1990). ISBN: 9780890818282

John Leo, Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2nd edition, 1998). IBN: 9780765804006

Peter Kreeft, “Personhood begins at conception”, Medical Ethics Policy Monograph (Castello Institute, Stafford, Virginia, 1997).

John Ballantyne, “Bill to end Medicare-funded abortions for sex selection”, News Weekly, March 16, 2013.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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