“It’s a Girl”: Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

Pro-Life and Pro-ChoiceThe Atlantic just published a review of It’s a Girl titled “Neither Pro-Life Nor Pro-Choice Can Solve the Selective Abortion Crisis” by Noah Berlatsky.  It’s an excellent review that delves into some of the critical questions that must be addressed in order for the world to really see a global movement to end female gendercide.

Berlatsky accurately points out “In the United States, the discussion of sex selection and gendercide inevitably gets pulled into the gravitational pit that is the abortion debate.”

At nearly every Q & A we’ve done as part of the International Screening Tour of the film, the question of abortion rights comes up. Some accuse the film of being pro-life while others accuse it of being pro-choice. Each side is suspicious of the other, and a film that touches on sex-selective abortion seems to have left both liberals and conservatives hunting for a hidden agenda.

So for the record, let me say here what we have said repeatedly at events around the world. The It’s a Girl documentary and action campaign are opposed to sex selective abortion and forced abortion, but neither the film nor our action campaign take a stance on abortion in general. As those who have seen the film can attest, we have a laser sharp focus on these two issues (as well as the other forms of gendercide).

This focus is intentional and essential, because as demonstrated by our list of screening events, it has allowed organizations across the spectrum of abortion rights to join in this fight against gendercide. Leading pro-life and pro-choice organizations have hosted screenings of It’s a Girl. As an example, a pro-life student group in the UK is working to partner with feminist student groups to host screenings of It’s a Girl on university campuses.

We believe this is enormously significant. What other issue today can bring together pro-choice and pro-life organizations in a shared goal?

Gendercide is an area of common ground.  Just imagine the potential if both conservatives and liberals can embrace this reality and work together in opposition to such extreme violence and discrimination against women and girls.

The risk of course, is for one side or the other to hijack the issue. Let’s be honest, the idea of common ground on the abortion issue has historically been laughable. What issue is more divisive, especially in the US?

So here is our challenge to each side:

Pro-lifers: We call on you to genuinely oppose sex selective abortion and forced abortion, without trying to exploit the opportunity to push for further abortion restrictions. We are not asking you to give up your deeply held convictions, but we are asking that you honestly focus on these areas of common ground in a way that invites support from those with opposing views on abortion.

Pro-choicers: We call on you to acknowledge that your push for abortion rights has never been about the right to choose the gender of the fetus, and that forced abortion is certainly not a choice. Sex selective abortion and forced abortion are issues you can oppose with confidence, while still holding to your convictions about a women’s right to elective abortion. As champions of women’s rights, your silence on these issues is incredibly loud.

The Atlantic’s review ends with this:

From a pro-life perspective, you could condemn the use of abortion in China as a systematic government-sanctioned murder of children, especially girls. From a pro-choice perspective, you could condemn the way the government robs women of autonomy and choice, taking away their ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own pregnancies. But really, it seems like It’s a Girl doesn’t buttress either pro-life or pro-choice—or, at least, doesn’t buttress one at the expense of another. Instead, the film shows that children’s rights rest upon women’s rights and that women’s rights, in turn, rest upon those of children. If women aren’t respected under the law, children won’t be, and if children aren’t, women won’t be either. That’s an insight, it seems, designed to make all sides in the abortion debate uncomfortable.

To this fair summary, I can only disagree with the closing statement, which also relates to the title of the review. It’s a Girl isn’t designed to make the two sides uncomfortable. Rather, it’s intended to move both sides to action!

Only pro-life and pro-choice together can solve the selective abortion crisis.