The Lop-sided Sex Ratio (revisited)
Vivek's reaction to my position on the lop-sided sex ratio is curious. He writes:
One should not only breat beat and bitch and moan about murder of innocent girls, one should actively fight with all one's might to prevent that. Why stop at girls, one should oppose all murders, period. Anyone who advocates the murder of anyone based on low net present value should be considered deranged and dealt suitably.
"I find it impossible not to breast beat, bitch and moan about the murder of innocent girls because their 'net present value' is lower than that of boys. I am wierd that way. Yes, I think the foetuses has rights. Not neccessarily all rights. But the right to life except under well defined circumstances."
My position is that the fact is that some people value female children less than male children. This is a lamentable fact but a fact nonetheless. I did not dictate that people value girls less. I am taking that as given and (at least for the present) unalterable fact. Breast beating may feel good but will do little to alter that fact. Altering that fact would be an end that all right-thinking people devoutly wish for. It may take a few generations. Until then, what is the most humane way to deal with the problem. Do millions of unwanted girl children have to suffer inhuman neglect? Can society protect the rights of children with as much gusto as the protection of foetuses? Which is the lesser evil: the aborting of female foetuses or the terrible fate of an unwanted girl child?
How would I feel if I were in the place of a girl who was beaten, malnourished, worked nearly to death, neglected, not loved, not had even the shadow of the prospect of a decent human existence? I would rather that I was never born. The suffering of a human being is a lot worse in my estimation than the aborting of a female foetus.
Your view of which is better would vary and therefore your policy prescription would also vary. I stand by my position that it is a second best world and the prohibition of sex-based abortion is a first best prescription that does more harm than good. It merely addresses the consequence and does nothing to address the underlying causes, many of which are economic.