What we do
Campaigns & Events
Abortion in N. Ireland
"I need help..."
Make a Donation
Find us on Facebook
19 / 08 / 2011 - Warning over disaster of sex-selective abortion
Sex-selective abortion is one of the largest, least noticed disasters in the world according to an article by The Economist.
In its review of Mara Hvistendahl's book, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, the international publication outlines how sex selection technology has been adopted as a population control measure in east Asia, under the influence of aid agencies and NGOs, with catastrophic consequences for the female population.
Mara Hvistendahl's book shows that a total of 163 million women are missing from Asia – a figure equalling the entire female population of the US. The Economist's review of Hvistendahl's book also highlights how underlying cultural bias against baby girls in many patriarchal societies is the primary factor in this ‘gendercide’ in China, India and elsewhere.
However, Hvistendahl's thesis is that Western policymakers’ obsession with so-called overpopulation in the 1960s resulted in the development of technology that facilitated the widespread practice of destroying female foetuses in Asia. The history of India’s development of amniocentesis tests for identifying foetal sex is traced back to financial aid from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the 1960s. India was at the same time the World Bank’s biggest client, and the bank made loans for health projects conditional on population control.
Hvistendahl’s research also highlights the role of the US military in making “abortion the population control tool of choice in those Asian countries where they wielded influence.” This happened first in Japan in the 1940s-50s and then later in the 1960s in Korea.
It was USAID that provided mobile clinics, which travelled rural South Korea performing abortions from the 1960s onwards. “At one point, a quarter of the country’s health budget was going on population control and the number of abortions hit an all-time record in Seoul, where, in 1977, there were 2.75 abortions for every live birth”, the article notes.
One sociologist quoted in Hvistendahl’s book, when asked, “What would have happened if the government hadn’t allowed for such easy abortion” responds, “I don’t think sex-selective abortion would have become so popular.”
While nature ensures that 105 boys are born for every 100 girls because of males’ greater vulnerability to childhood disease, and thereby ensuring that the sexes will be equal at marriageable age; in China now, the sex ratio is 120 boys per 100 girls while in India it is 109 to 100.
According to UK Peer, Lord David Alton, in India, “if sex ratios remain at their current level, 600,000 missing girls in 2011 will become over 10 million missing future brides, eighteen years from now.”
Writing in his blog the pro-life peer warns that this in turn will lead to “a trade in bride-trafficking and to a plethora of other undesirable social consequences.” He agrees with Hvistendahl in laying the blame for this ‘gendercide’ at the unscrupulous flooding of India with ultrasound equipment “which all too often is not used to protect the health of a woman or her child, but to hunt down girls and eliminate them in a lethal search and destroy mission,” he writes.
Lord Alton adds, “It makes abortion easy.”
There are over 50,000 ultra sound machines undertaking sex selection in India currently. But India and China are not the only countries where ‘gendercide’ is evident and its presence in Taiwan and Singapore underline that wealth does not prevent it. Furthermore, in China and India, the areas with the worst sex ratios are the richest and best-educated ones.
According to an article published in May 2010 in The Economist, (The War on Baby Girls) the threat to baby girls is a product of three forces, viz. the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a foetus.
The article stated, “In societies where four or six children were common, a boy would almost certainly come along eventually; son preference did not need to exist at the expense of daughters. But now couples want two children—or, as in China, are allowed only one—they will sacrifice unborn daughters to their pursuit of a son.”
“That is why sex ratios are most distorted in the modern, open parts of China and India. It is also why ratios are more skewed after the first child: parents may accept a daughter first time round but will do anything to ensure their next—and probably last—child is a boy. The boy-girl ratio is above 200 for a third child in some places.”
While the article noted that baby girls are the victims of “a malign combination of ancient prejudice and modern preferences for small families” there is hope. One country that has managed to change this detrimental pattern is South Korea.
In the 1990s, South Korea had a sex ratio almost as skewed as that of China. However, it is currently heading towards normality, according to The Economist.
“It achieved this, not deliberately, but because the culture changed. Female education, anti-discrimination suits and equal-rights rulings made son preference seem old-fashioned and unnecessary. The forces of modernity first exacerbated prejudice — then overwhelmed it.”
Source: Sarah MacDonald - CiNews