Hillary Clinton is poised to become the first female presidential nominee of a major American political party. Many pundits already have her as the odds-on favorite to win the presidency. Feminists are ecstatic. They see Mrs. Clinton's candidacy as a watershed moment for their cause.
Mrs. Clinton also sees the significance, and is leveraging it for all its worth. Last week, she repeated one of her favorite talking points on American Broadcasting Company's popular show, "The View." Discussing what her possible election means, she tells of how at campaign events, parents lean over to their daughters and say, "See honey, you could be anything you want to be."
Yet for all of the symbolism of her candidacy, Mrs. Clinton has been inexplicably silent regarding the subjugation of women in India and China by American doctors performing sex-selection abortions right here in America. Moreover, feminists have given her a pass on this vital human rights issue.
Perhaps Mrs. Clinton and feminists view the issue as simply pro-life v. pro-choice. They support abortion. "Next question," they might say. But that's a cop-out. Their silence enables an evil notion held by some in countries like India and China that little girls are not as valuable as little boys and therefore can be discarded.
In India, the recently released National Family Health Survey paints a horrifying picture of gender selection by abortion among that nation's urban and rural populations. According to government officials, India has lost more than 10 million girls through the illegal but prevalent practice.
This past summer saw the horrific discovery of the remains of dead female babies in the India town of Orissa. They had been bagged and tossed in a well behind what was discovered to be an abortion clinic. India banned the practice of sex-selection abortion 15 years ago. However, as the babies of Orissa show, it simply pushed the practice underground.
Sex-selection abortion is so common in India that General Electric was forced to hold a conference there, and now requests that any Indian company purchasing one of their ultrasound machines sign a waiver indicating that they will not use it to determine the sex of the child and subsequently abort her. China has also followed suit in outlawing the practice.
Wealthy and upper middle-class women of India and China do have an option though. They can simply come to sunny California and go to the Fertility Institutes of Los Angeles. For approximately $18,000, women can have their abortion at this self-proclaimed "world's largest and most successful" sex-selection program. The company even offers financing through CapitalOne for those who can't afford the $18,000 up front and advertises in race-specific publications.
Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, the clinic's president, in an interview with New American Media's Mandy Oaklander, is proud to note that while 5% of the Institute's advertising budget is aimed at Indian and other ethnic groups, they account for 20% of the business.
The ease with which Mr. Steinberg discusses his gruesome business comes as no surprise to veterans of the pro-life movement. Sex-selection abortion is used almost exclusively to kill females. In China and India, the practice is culturally sanctioned and here in America, where we believe human rights are universal, and every person is created equal, it is government sanctioned and profitable as well.
Sex-selection abortion has left mainstream abortion and feminists groups in a bind. The National Organization of Women and National Abortion Rights Action League have been quiet on the subject. Their Web sites yield no substantive discussion of the practice, which has resulted in millions of missing girls. Perhaps these organizations do not want to face the facts regarding abortion.
Pro-abortion groups are fond of saying that abortion is a woman's choice. It is her electing to choose what to do with her body. How much of a choice is it really, when the women are under immense societal pressure to have a boy? How much of a choice is it for the millions of missing girls?
The popular feminist blog, Feministing.com, dealt with the issue of sex-selection abortion a month ago. Samhita Mukhopadhyay writes that the "Fertility Institutes is benefiting from sexism and hatred against the birth of baby girls in India and the Indian diaspora communities." Ms. Mukhopadhyay does not appear to recognize the irony in her statement.
There is no one on the pro-life side who would disagree with her, yet groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have yet to take up the cause. And, there isn't any indication they will ask the would-be first female U.S. president what she thinks.
Mr. Blackwell, who was a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission between 1990 and 1993, is a contributing editor of Townhall.com and a senior fellow at both the Family Research Council and the Buckeye Institute.