As Elisabeth notes, today's Vice Presidential foot-in-mouth moment is far more insidious than your standard Biden malapropism. Typically, Biden merely asks a wheelchair bound supporter to "stand up," or totally butchers US history to make a specious point. In this case, he's excusing (endorsing?) the vile and immoral Chinese policy of forced abortions. The Vice President is a self-professed catholic. American pro-lifers are often exasperated by Catholic politicians who favor legalized abortion; this controversy is nothing new -- just ask Mario Cuomo. But Biden's comments break new, shameful ground. It's one thing for the vice president to ignore his church's teachings on abortion. It's an entirely separate proposition for him to state -- on Chinese soil -- that he "fully understands" their one-child policy, before explicitly declining to even second guess it.
This should be self-evident, but the concept of forced abortions is completely divorced from even the mainstream 'pro-choice' argument. Advocates of legalized abortion argue that a woman should retain the "right to choose" whether to end the life of her unborn child. Americans are split on that question. Americans are not divided on whether a government should assert the power to compel abortions for the purposes of social engineering and population control -- yet that's precisely what the Chinese policy requires. China's one-child policy mandates the wanton, amoral, and mind-bogglingly widespread slaughter of human life. There's no "choice" involved. Joe Biden's fidelity to his Catholic faith is none of my business, frankly. His relationship with the Almighty is between him, his priest, and God himself. In his official capacity on this trip, however, he's acting as an emissary of our entire nation. The American people abhor the notion of coercive abortions. At the very least, Biden should have kept his mouth shut (perhaps that's asking too much) on this question. He didn't, and the resulting statement is a disgrace.
An extra note for our feminist readers: Because Chinese culture values male life over female life, China's one-child policy has resulted in a wildly disproportionate number of gender-selective abortions. Abortion rights advocate Mara Hvistendahl documents this chilling trend in her new book (via Jonathan Last's excellent review):
In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that's as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events. Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China's and India's populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.
What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl. By Ms. Hvistendahl's counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence.
As Last's final sentence indicates, this "moral horror" has also spawned a significant demographic predicament:
“…China will face a growing number of young men who will never marry due to the country’s one-child policy, which has resulted in a reported birth ratio of almost 120 boys for every 100 girls…By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married. The coming marriage squeeze will likely be even more acute in the Chinese countryside, since the poor, uneducated and rural population will be more likely to lose out in the competition for brides.”
China's single-child policy has fomented a gendercide against the country's female population, and has created a glut of millions of "excess" males. (Incidentally, it doesn't take a Sinophile to extrapolate the career path towards which many of those males may eventually gravitate). But far be it from our Vice President to even deign to "second guess" this horrifying abomination. Appalling.