Reading Time: 2 minutes By University of Toronto Students for Life [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There was a political uproar in England awhile ago about women seeking abortions on the basis of the gender of the fetus. This is apparently against the law in England. It is also illegal in Australia, but Canada has no prohibition against it. As far as I can determine, it is not illegal in the US, but abortion statistics show no gender preference in this country.

But…a law that limits the reason a woman can have an abortion? How does anyone know what her reasons are? She may have many reasons! And she may choose not to share them with anyone, especially nosy government officials. To put it plainly, trying to limit a woman’s right to an abortion by asking her why she wants it is simply asking her to lie about it…to state one of the “acceptable” reasons.

I don’t see how it would work, anyway. Does government provide a list of “acceptable” reasons? How in the world would anyone compile such a list? There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of reasons why a woman might want to terminate a pregnancy. And in any case, she may have multiple reasons. Who will parse her list and decide if it constitutes an “acceptable” reason? Will each reason be assigned a “score” and then the total must exceed some minimum value? Is this absurd enough for you? In a further escalation of the idiocy, there is talk in England of making it illegal for a woman to find out the gender of her fetus. What’s next…prohibiting tests to determine Down’s Syndrome or other genetic defects?

In the end, if abortions are legal, then the reason a woman wants one is, quite clearly, irrelevant…and impossible to determine anyway…until medical science develops a way to do a brain scan. When that happens, Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” will have truly arrived.

Bert Bigelow is a trained engineer who pursued a career in software design. Now retired, he enjoys writing short essays on many subjects but mainly focuses on politics and religion and the intersection...