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FACE TO FACE: Don't end women's rights

Ducks Unlimited is an organization dedicated to defending the marshland habitat of wild ducks.

Ducks Unlimited is an organization dedicated to defending the marshland habitat of wild ducks. It works tirelessly to protect soggy environments in order to assure there will be enough healthy ducks to allow them to participate in their real passion, shooting ducks.

My colleague embraces a similar paradox when he talks about "gendercide" - a recently coined term which anti- abortionists use to profess concern for the plight of women, when their real agenda is to remove a woman's right to choose.

Gendercide statistics in many countries are increasingly alarming, as my "pro-life" colleague has undoubtedly pointed out. Female fetuses are aborted and female babies are killed because of cultural and parental preferences for boys.

We all agree these practices are abhorrent and must change.

The word "gendercide" is apropos when used to describe the appalling practice of culling female children, but it's not apropos to use it to indict abortion as the reason for the practice. That's like saying that slavery in the U.S. could have been subdued if they had only outlawed the growing of cotton.

The problem in misogynist cultures is not ultra sound-technology, new gender identification methods, or abortion; it's culture; cultures and religions that de-value women, girls, and female babies.

Reactionary interventions won't stop gendercide or infanticide, nor will they protect women from cultures and religions that don't respect women.

I'm sure that the father and family make most of the grisly decisions made in these cultures, not the mother. It would thus seem to behoove us to work to strengthen a woman's right to control her body, rather than propounding we remove that right.

That said, I confess to be at a loss as to what would help stop or slow this cultural practice.

I do, however, know what won't help.

Saving future women by not allowing current women control over their bodies won't help.

Reversing scientific progress by restricting ultra sound, stem cell research, or amniocentesis won't help.

And alas, dropping smart bombs or Bibles on these countries also won't help.

We shouldn't try to save the environment so we have ducks to shoot, and we shouldn't try to parlay a human rights horror into an argument against a human right for which women have fought so long and hard.