Latest Live Action video: Black and white and wrong all over

Live Action, the anti-choice group whose activism method of choice is the selectively-edited video of “sting” operations inside Planned Parenthood, has released their latest missive. We reported last month that this was coming down the pipeline, and now, here it is, in all its shaky, hand-held, black-and-white, ominous and glaringly biased glory.

Here’s the thing. Yes, sex-selective abortion happens, and that is awful. Sex-selective abortion happens. It happens because of sexism. It happens because in almost every culture around the world, boys and men are valued more than girls and women. It happens because boys and men have, on the whole, better lives – more rights, more opportunities, more freedom – than girls and women. Men are not subject to the very restrictions on reproductive freedom that Lila Rose and Live Action are demanding. And that is why some parents want to have boys rather than girls. That’s while they’ll go to great lengths to avoid having a girl. Because sexism of the kind that Lila Rose endorses makes it so much harder to be a woman in this world.

Sex-selective abortion is not the disease, it’s the symptom.

It is, however, a form of abortion that horrifies a lot of people, which is why Rose and Live Action have targeted it. But make no mistake; for all their talk about missing girls and gendercide, they’re not interested in ending sexism. They’re not interested in talking about the larger structural and cultural problems that make sex-selective abortion a fact of life in many communities around the world. They’re interested in restricting women’s rights – and if they have to play on people’s sense of gender justice to do it, they will.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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Join the Conversation

  • Lee

    “Violent sex-selective abortion”? How could some abortions be violent, and others not?

    Also, this video contains the clinician’s personal information about her own health history. MESSED UP, people.

    Feministing, I challenge you to confront the paradox of supporting choice whilst protesting sex-selective abortion. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

  • Natalie H

    i really enjoyed your article, i found myself agreeing with much if not all that was said.

  • Beebe

    I remember reading that economist report. It’s sad that it happens, but much sadder that women and couples feel they must do it. I agree completely that treating the symptoms is not the answer–especially when that just happens to involve more female-body-controlling legislation.

    Furthermore, at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s business why a person chooses to terminate a pregnancy. Nobody’s business but her own. Questioning and hindering someone because you suspect her of being motivated by gender discrimination is no different than any other moral, religious, or pseudo-scientific justification for denying access to abortion. We know what happens when safe and legal access to abortion isn’t available: Unsafe and illegal abortion. Beyond the context of larger social implications, one’s reasons for seeking an abortion are irrelevant.

  • Lee

    Michelle Goldberg addresses this contentious issue in her book “The Means of Reproduction”. Global feminists from America to India to Hong Kong have been struggling with sex-selective abortion. It’s awfully hypocritical of the feminist community to condemn a woman for choosing to abort for “the wrong reasons”; feminisms have long been prescriptive, even moralistic, but a feminist anti-sex selective abortion position need also address freedom of choice.

    An earlier Feministing article condemned PRENDA because of its potential for racial discrimination…not the fact that punishing sex-selective abortion is an affront to freedom of choice.

  • k. ward

    Feministing– use a different video link so that we don’t drive up Live Action’s hits!