May 13, 2009

Can Non-Persons Be Gendered?

Justin Katz

The intellectual dissonance of this is achingly painful:

The Local reported in February that a woman from Eskilstuna in southern Sweden had twice had abortions after finding out the gender of the child.

The woman, who already had two daughters, requested an amniocentesis in order to allay concerns about possible chromosome abnormalities. At the same time, she also asked to know the foetus's gender.

Doctors at Mälaren Hospital expressed concern and asked Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to draw up guidelines on how to handle requests in the future in which they "feel pressured to examine the foetus’s gender" without having a medically compelling reason to do so.

The board has now responded that such requests and thus abortions can not be refused and that it is not possible to deny a woman an abortion up to the 18th week of pregnancy, even if the foetus's gender is the basis for the request.

Critical to pro-abortion arguments — or at least their ability to remain viable in an even modestly moral society — is the fiction that there's some state of being called "personhood" that bestows a basic right not to be killed on a whim by one's own mother and that unborn children lack such being. Here, we have a mother considering qualities of the child as a determinative factor for execution.

There is no way that such a decision can be made without envisioning that child's life with his or her parents. There is no way, in short, not to be thinking of that fetus as a person who will grow through the stages of childhood. To crush that life while it is sufficiently vulnerable is, well, monstrous.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

To be clear, I’d be considered ’pro-choice’ in the strict sense since I don’t think abortion should be criminalized under all circumstances but on most abortion related issues I favor the pro-life side. Having said that, this specific scenario is tragic (and if it were up to me, the request would not be allowed) yet I don’t think it’s very persuasive in the abortion argument.

The argument is not that that the fetus/baby is not a “person” but that the “person” lacks the basic right not to be terminated over the wishes of the mother. You are correct that the very fact that decisions on abortions are made by gender and other qualities such as health status validate the “personhood state of being”. But the main argument against for choice is primarily about privacy, not the state of being.

Posted by: msteven at May 13, 2009 4:44 PM


The unborn are undeniably human beings. In order to create a class of human beings without a simple right to life, abortion supporters fell back on the notion of "personhood." You're merely trying to find some new way to articulate the same idea.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 13, 2009 7:15 PM

OF COURSE............................
If Adulterers like,Ron Reagan,Limbaugh
Bill Oreilly,John McCain,Newt Gingrich,Bob Barr,Guiliani, Ted Haggard,Bob Dole,Strong Thurmond,David Vitter,Henry Hyde,Gary Bauer ect...ect........ect
I do not think they would ask !!!!!!

Posted by: Robert at May 13, 2009 7:53 PM

Robert, brilliant. Thank you for sharing. Keep coming back. We always enjoy a good laugh at the mindless rants of a far-left lemming.

FYI. Critical thinking and fact checking doesn't really hurt that much.

Posted by: George at May 13, 2009 8:13 PM

Bull back. Your assertion that the pro-choice argument rests solely on the notion of "personhood" is incorrect. You're merely setting up the simple straw man to this issue.

Posted by: msteven at May 14, 2009 8:22 AM

The decision about a human being's right to life is necessarily prior to somebody else's right to kill that him or her under the umbrella of privacy. Biologically, a fetus is a human being, so there must be some other bifurcation. I've called it "personhood"; you can call it whatever you want. It's the same principle.

Posted by: Justin Katz at May 17, 2009 2:01 PM
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