Sex-Selection in the West

sex-selectionEveryone knows that sex-selection is rampant in the places like China and India where ultrasound and legalized abortion mean that roughly 160 million women are “missing.” What many people do not know, or refuse to acknowledge, is that the practice of aborting girls just because they are girls is growing in the West as well.

A study done by Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, of UC Berkeley that looked at U.S. 2000 Census data.  They found that among U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents there is a male bias especially in third children.  They report, “If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%.”  And they concluded, “We interpret the found deviation in favor of sons to be evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage.”

A study of 2 abortion clinics in the San Francisco Bay area that service a high South Asian immigrant population found shocking evidence of sex selection.  Forbes reported that not only did 89% of pregnant women who were carrying girls abort their child during the study period, but there was evidence of coercion, sometimes violent, by husbands and in-laws to do so.

This is would be expected in the United States where sex selection is completely legal in most states. But in the UK, sex selective abortion is illegal. Surely, the law is enough of a deterrent.

It does not seem so. The Independent looked at the UK’s recent census data and found that in certain immigrant groups, girls have gone “missing”:

The illegal abortion of female foetuses solely to ensure that families have sons is widely practised within some ethnic communities in Britain and has resulted in significant shortfalls in the proportion of girls, according to an investigation by The Independent.

The practice of sex-selective abortion is now so commonplace that it has affected the natural 50:50 balance of boys to girls within some immigrant groups and has led to the “disappearance” of between 1,400 and 4,700 females from the national census records of England and Wales, we can reveal.

A government investigation last year found no evidence that women living in the UK, but born abroad, were preferentially aborting girls. However, our deeper statistical analysis of data from the 2011 National Census has shown widespread discrepancies in the sex ratio of children in some immigrant families, which can only be easily explained by women choosing to abort female foetuses in the hope of becoming quickly pregnant again with a boy….

“The only readily available explanation that is consistent with a statistically significant gender shift of the sort observed in the census data is gender-selective abortion,” Dr Anagnostopoulos said. “In the absence of a better theory, these findings can be interpreted as evidence that gender-selective abortion is taking place.”

Nearly everyone decries sex-selective abortion. No one thinks this is good. At the same time, nearly everyone points to the wrong solution: restricting access to (or the information from) ultrasound and other pre-natal testing:

Some experts have argued that the baby’s sex should be withheld automatically until much later in pregnancy, when abortions are more difficult to obtain – as some NHS hospitals have already started to do.

Why this the wrong solution? Because it is the abortion that kills the baby girls, not the ultrasound.

Sex-selection is already illegal in China, India and the UK, and yet it still occurs. In some places, it is rampant. Ultrasound machines are important medical equipment, not just in prenatal care; it would be crazy to totally outlaw those. So there will always be access to technology that can determine the sex of a fetus and parents willing to lie to kill the girl they don’t want.

As long as abortion is widely available, girls will pay the price.

The only way to protect girls is to strike at the heart of the problem. Ban abortion. That would fix sex-selection and a bunch of other evils as well.

The REAL war on women is being waged in the womb. The thing that many hold up as the liberator of women is the very thing that is killing us by the millions.

And pro-abortion feminists would rather protect the idea of “choice” than the lives of actual women. They would also prefer we be distracted with restricting ultrasounds instead of banning abortions.

Originally published at Creative Minority Report.

Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for six years and is a regular on Catholic radio.
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