If anyone was wondering what exactly it takes to transform female infanticide from the morally judgmental, ethically reprehensible “evils of sex selection” into a kinder, gentler “medical tourism for designer babies,” this week — somewhere between the crossed wires of the Associated Press and the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer — we had the answer printed for us in black-and-white typeface on crisp, clean newsprint:
:::Insert eyeroll here::: That the lubricating effects of money and status and class manage to somehow soften the harsh edges of an issue that seems decidedly black-and-white when put in the cultural context of India’s rural, uneducated poor but not in the face of the planet’s sweetly smiling, gray-hued financiers doesn’t really surprise me.
That the Philadelphia Inquirer ran “India tries to stop sex selection: Caught on tape, doctors accused of accepting cash to perform illegal abortions of female fetuses” the same week the AP titled its subtly sympathetic and ultimately more forgiving “It’s a Boy! If you want a boy...” doesn’t completely surprise me either though I wonder (amidst the obvious irony and class lines and socio-economic disparities at play) what exactly the difference is between
A pregnant woman, sitting in a doctor’s office, explained that she was carrying a girl. She already had two girls, she said, and didn’t want a third. That’s why she was seeking an abortion.
Some people spend $50,000 to $70,000 for a BMW car and think nothing of it, but this is a life that’s going to be with us forever,” said Robert, an Australian who asked that his last name not be used to protect the family’s privacy.
He and his wife, Joanna, have two boys. Now they want a girl.
But you wonder sometimes, when you read stories about fertility clinics and mad scientists who defend consumer eugenics on the premise that “The Chinese like boys. Canadians like girls. Every country is different,” if George Orwell and Aldous Huxley knew what was coming.