The Small, Still Foot of a Nothing
Any attempt to mitigate this scene, from an Economist article, is necessarily founded in either evil or self-delusion:
XINRAN XUE, a Chinese writer, describes visiting a peasant family in the Yimeng area of Shandong province. The wife was giving birth. “We had scarcely sat down in the kitchen”, she writes, “when we heard a moan of pain from the bedroom next door…The cries from the inner room grew louder—and abruptly stopped. There was a low sob, and then a man’s gruff voice said accusingly: ‘Useless thing!’
“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me,” Miss Xinran remembers. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. ‘Don’t move, you can’t save it, it’s too late.’
“‘But that’s…murder…and you’re the police!’ The little foot was still now. The policemen held on to me for a few more minutes. ‘Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here,’ [an] older woman said comfortingly. ‘That’s a living child,’ I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. ‘It’s not a child,’ she corrected me. ‘It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it. Around these parts, you can’t get by without a son. Girl babies don’t count.'”
In the final analysis, that’s abortion: a dead child in a bucket who “doesn’t count.” The reason can be the mother’s career ambitions. The parents’ dislike of each other. Or even the inconvenient season during which the pregnancy would ensue. Society cannot carve out an exception to proscriptions of murder for parents to kill their children without moral and practical consequences.
In the case of China, one such consequence is an imbalanced society that Western liberals would despise were it not a sacrifice on the altar of abortion:
The number is based on the sexual discrepancy among people aged 19 and below. According to [Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)], China in 2020 will have 30m-40m more men of this age than young women. For comparison, there are 23m boys below the age of 20 in Germany, France and Britain combined and around 40m American boys and young men. So within ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide.
Whether one seeks to derive morality from Christian ethics or a vague sense of a natural order, human beings must be treated as ends in themselves if we’re to avoid the ostensibly unintended consequences that occur when individualist and utilitarian calculations claim dominance over the right to life itself.