Well, no dear Observer editorial writers

The investigation by the Daily Telegraph of several private clinics across the country offering sex-selection terminations because the gender of the unborn baby is unwanted has briefly united campaigners on both sides of the normally highly polarised abortion debate. They have rightly spoken as one in soundly condemning the practice. The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has launched an inquiry. \”Sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong,\” he is reported as saying.

However, an alarm has also been raised by Darinka Aleksic, campaign co-ordinator for Abortion Rights. She has said that the illegal practices of a small number of clinics should not be used to push for even greater restrictions. Her warning is timely. Abortion is already heavily regulated and strictly licensed in Britain, controlled by legislation now 45 years old. A termination is legal up to 24 weeks, though the majority of terminations occur in the first 14 weeks. A woman who seeks an abortion needs the approval of two doctors and is required to receive counselling.

If such sex selective abortions are illegal then shouldn\’t you be calling for the law to be enforced? You know, that \”heavily regulated and strictly licensed\” thing?

And if they\’re not illegal but ought to be, shouldn\’t we be strenghtening that law?

Of course, if it\’s just fine to scoop one out because it\’s not got a dick then why don\’t you say so?

12 comments on “Well, no dear Observer editorial writers

  1. The Guardian (on Sunday or otherwise) demanding new law because of something they disapprove of, despite the fact that it is already covered by existing law but not enforced as much as they would like is “same old, same old”.

    The information they present is also simply incorrect. It is only s1(1)(a) terminations that are legal “up to 24 weeks”. Terminations under ss 1(1)(b), (c) and (d) are legal at any point. And note s(1)(4) gives a single doctor the power to do it if the mother’s life or health are at immediate risk.

  2. Darinka Alesic asserts that the law is strict, observed and policed effectively.
    If you believe this, can I sell you this bridge?

  3. Wonk reqwest!
    Suppose China, instead of imposing a one child policy, had imposed a one son policy?
    i.e. family could be S; DS; DDS; DDDS, etc.
    But not SD; SS, SDS, etc.
    My intuition is that this would have reduced fertility without skewing the sex ratio much if at all.
    But can anyone help with the actual maths?

  4. bif,

    Limits. I did the calculation and you are right – the average (median) family would have 2 children, and there would be a slight bias towards sons. Mostly because there is a point at which even the most son-obsessed Chinese woman is going to start on the pill.

    The modal family would have 1 child, a son. The median family would be on the boundary between mode and mean.

  5. This issue is a horror show for progressives. On the one hand, there’s a hated patriarchy eliminating females. On the other, said hated patriarchy is not white and their method is abortion, or the “right to choose”‘

    Action: fudge, hedge, mumble, hope it all goes away.

  6. said hated patriarchy is not white

    I think that much of the Telegraph’s patriarchy are female and a significant number are white. Names like “Stephanie” and “Claudine” are reasonable giveaways – although I’ll admit insufficient multiculturalism to know whether “Prabha” is sex-linked. Although she’s definitely of the distaff.

  7. bloke:

    Which bridge? Someone already did the London Bridge thing and it it’s here (Lake Havasu City).
    Got another worth lookin’ at?

  8. SE
    I tried the calculation (please show me your workings!) and got lost.
    But I didn’t get to a mean family size of 2.
    Basically you’re sawing a normal distribution in half. Or are you?
    By my reckoning S,D are indifferent for first child, then 50% chance of S for second child… so roughly a 25% population decline per generation?
    And then I got lost in DDS, DDDS, a declining probability like a capitalisation problem…
    Anyone?
    Frances? Matthew?

  9. 50% of families will have 1 child – S
    25% of families will have 2 children – DS
    12.5% of families will have 3 children – DDS
    6.25% of families will have 4 children – DDDS.

    Now before Frances has a contract taken out on us for using Chinese women as harem breeding devices (and I took it up to 10 kids which is 99.9% of families so is closing to the limit.)

    That gives you families with 1 son and, mean, .989 daughters.

    Not allowing for barrenness: if f is family size, D=sigma[f {0 to x}(0.5^f)*(f-1)]. Obviously, in the limit, family size = the mean of (D + M). M is slightly less than 1 (barren + those who gave up or out before bearing that precious son). D tends to 1 as family size tends to infinity.

  10. Thanks, SE
    So it does reduce population.
    Take 2.25 as the replacement rate bearing in mind early death etc minus your 1.989 and if the law was obeyed it would reduce the population by about 0.25 per generation.
    Not a bad result if you want this result.
    Also it keeps the sex ratio more stable. It’s 1:0.989 in your calculation and it’s 1.2:1 on the ground in China today.
    Now, what would be the social consequences of such a law?
    I’d reckon the planners would have a surprise and find people preferred larger families so would fiddle the abortions the other way, and girl children would become highly prized.

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