Strategically, it makes no sense to give in to this idea that there’s somehow something a little queasier about having an abortion for gender than, say, for money. These are equally legitimate reasons (or, if you are on the other side, equally illegitimate). One might make you uncomfortable in your gut, but it can’t make the movement hesitate. Because that hesitation—that pause of, well, yes this one is complicated—makes it that much easier for so many of those other reasons (money, timing, work) to seem a little not-OK too.
Douthat takes on attempts to minimize the issue by linking it to a small minority:
Here Milbank is addressing the substance of the matter, and he’s saying … what? That if a deplorable practice mainly affects Asian immigrants, it’s not really worth criminalizing?
I'm more with Ross here in principle. I'm just deeply skeptical of how legal authorities could determine such a motive if the women do not say so. Banning explicit advertizing or marketing for sex-selective abortion would be another thing. But my sense is that this is all underground anyway, very hard to root out, and the kind of government power that would be unleashed in trying to figure it out is not compatible with a free country. I mean, how do you prove motive in such cases? Noah Millman counters Douthat and tries to reframe the debate:
I suspect that most people who are pro-choice would be creeped out by a woman who had had 20 abortions, or by a woman who was planning to have a child but had an abortion because her pregnancy interfered with a planned vacation. They would be creeped out for reasons that Douthat would probably have sympathy with, reasons that have something to do with the notion that these hypothetical women are treating pregnancy with insufficient gravity. But it doesn’t follow that those reasons imply that those who harbor them are closet pro-lifers.