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Study predicts global loss of nearly 5 million girls from sex-selective abortion over next decade

by | Aug 6, 2021

By Nancy Flanders 

A new study has revealed that there will be 4.7 million fewer girls born over the next 10 years due to sex-selective practices around the world — mainly sex-selective abortion. That could mean 22 million missing girls over the next 80 years, completely disrupting the already lopsided global gender balance.

The study, published in the medical journal Global Health BMJ by researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, looked at data from 3.26 billion births from 204 countries over 50 years. From there, researchers narrowed it down to the 29 countries with a known preference for sons over daughters. 

Sex-selective practices in Southeast Europe and South and East Asia have caused an unbalanced ratio of males to females at birth since 1970, and if the trend continues, nearly five million more girls will be missing from the world by 2030. There are 12 countries in all with an increase in the male-to-female ratio since 1970 and 17 others are predicted to see an increase.

A major cause of the gender imbalance in China and India, where there is a strong preference for sons, is sex-selective abortion in which girls are targeted for death simply because they are girls. China’s one-child policy pushed parents to kill their preborn daughters until they became pregnant with a son. Many daughters born to parents hoping for a boy were abandoned at birth. This has led to a lack of wives for the men of China and contributes to “elevated levels of antisocial behavior and violence,” according to the study. As Live Action News has previously noted, it also has led to an increase in sex trafficking.

 “Over the last 40 years, prenatal gender-biased sex selection [aka sex-selective abortion] has become the most visible consequence of son preference,” states the study. “Along with child marriage and female genital mutilation, sex selection is one of the key harmful practices defined by the United Nations (UN) and targeted under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sex-selective abortions, the main mechanism behind sex selection, have been observed across a range of countries from Southeast Europe to South and East Asia. They lead to a hike in the sex ratio at birth […] above its natural (biological) level and to the emergence of a surplus of male births.”

Researchers say sex-selective abortion “is now a major contributor to the ‘missing women’.”

According to Insider, the National Census of China reported in 2020 that there were 111.3 boys for every 100 girls born, and the world’s global population in 2020 was made up of just 49.6% women. In Bahrain, women account for only 35.5% of the 2020 population and in Qatar, there are three men for every one woman.

In addition to concerns of women available for marriage, the lack of females “may ultimately affect long-term stability and socially sustainable development.”

According to researchers, “The almost simultaneous rise of the SRB [sex ratio at birth] in various countries accounting for more than a third of the world’s population is an unprecedented phenomenon in demographic history. It will have long-lasting repercussions on demographic and social structures due to the mounting number of missing adult females, with long-term social consequences on affected societies.”

The researchers are calling for policy planning to minimize the future use of sex-selective abortion. Outlawing abortion seems like a good place to start.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.