Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you didn’t exist? (And when I use the word “life”, I mean, the world around you that you’re familiar with…)
Who would be the best friend of your current best friend?
Who would be the spouse to your spouse?
Who would be working the job you currently work at?
Who would have positively impacted the lives of those you have touched with your care and love and friendship?
Now consider, what would life be like without the presence of the person you love most. What would life be like without your best friend? your spouse? your brother? your sister? your child? your father?
What would life be like without your mother?
Would you even exist?
In the fall of 2008 my dad was transferred overseas to Tianjin, China for work for a year and a half. Though our entire family was sad my dad would be commuting back-and-forth from Austin to China for the next year and a half, we were also elated to have the opportunity to visit him and explore a country we had never been to before. And so in the summer of 2009, the entire family took time to visit and spend time with my dad. And that’s when I met Vicky.
Vicky, born nearly a year to the day before I was, was a co-worker of my dad’s. She was one of only a handful of my dad’s co-workers that spoke English with ease. She was smart, quick-witted, friendly and adventurous. We quickly became good friends and during my visit I often wondered… What if Vicky didn’t exist?
Born in 1980, Vicky was born in the second year of what is referred to as the “Family Planning Policy” of China, ie, the “One-Child Policy” (as it’s known here in the United States.) In a culture with a long tradition of preferential treatment towards sons, female babies are often looked down upon, are desired less and, are frequently victims of violence known as gendercide.
Gendercide is a more recently coined term that refers to the systematic killing of members of a specific sex, and includes gender-selected abortions, infanticide and lethal violence against a particular gender at any stage in life.¹ Gendercide has been present at various times throughout our history as a people, and there have been two very notable “survivors” of gendercide in the Bible: Moses and Jesus Christ.
Gendercide continues today. And not just in countries like China, India and Pakistan². There’s gendercide in the United States.
In the United States we often believe the ideal family unit is a mother, a father, a son and a daughter. The pressure to be the ideal, perfect family can be tremendous. And unfortunately in our society we far too often seek perfection and the ideal no matter what the cost, financially, mentally, emotionally or physically. Even if that cost is the life of a baby girl.
That aspiration for perfection in the family unit in the United States is slowly being uncovered. Live Action³, a youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion, began exposing troubling issues within Planned Parenthood with undercover videos in 2011. And in April of 2012, they visited a South Austin Planned Parenthood, and recorded some disturbing footage:
The War on Baby Girls: Part 1 – Undercover in Texas
In this video, Live Action shows a Planned Parenthood here in the Austin Diocese encouraging and reassuring a woman she can obtain an abortion as late as 23 weeks into her pregnancy if she discovers that she is pregnant with a baby girl, and not the baby boy she is hoping for.
And so I find myself again asking the question, what if my friend Vicky had never been born? What if she had been the victim of gendercide? What if my life had never been blessed by her existence?
Fortunately, I’ll never know the answer to any of those questions.
I fervently hope and pray that others will have the opportunity to know, meet and befriend their own “Vickys,” survivors of gendercide present in many countries, including our own. I pray that others will recognize a person’s a person no matter how small and no matter their gender. And I pray that Baby Girls in America will never be on the endangered list.