The Global War Against Baby Girls (Part II)

In January I wrote about the “global war against baby girls“: how the  widespread use of sonogram technology—coupled with liberal abortion laws—has made it easier than ever for women to identify the sex of their child so that those without a Y chromosome can be killed before they’re even born.

Recently, there have been several news items related to female gendercide:

The Story: The House began debate Wednesday on a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of a child.

Summary: According to the Washington Post, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) would punish doctors with up to five years in prison for performing abortions because the parents are seeking a child of the other sex. Republican supporters cast the bill as a measure designed to protect the civil rights of unborn children—especially babies born to minority parents. As the bill was drafted, Democrats accused Republicans of disingenuously tying the issue to the legacy of civil rights leaders. Although all Republicans are expected to support the bill, the legislation may not pass because of lack of support from Democrats.

The Story:  In India thousands of baby girls are abandoned each year, an extension of sex selection practices that, according to a 2011 study in The Lancet, include half a million abortions in that country every year. Most abandoned babies die and only a few are rescued.

Summary: The Atlantic reports that for the past five years the idea of a baby hatch has been slowly resurrected in India. There are already some baby hatches operating in India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. A United Nations Population Fund report explains, “Instead of resorting to female infanticide, parents who were unwilling to bring up their female babies could place them anonymously in cradles located in noon meal centres, PHCs, selected orphanages and NGOs. Subsequent to their placement in cradles, babies were to be placed for adoption.” Since the program’s inception in 1992 in selected districts, some 390 boys and 2400 girls have been safely left, according to the Tamil Nadu government’s directorate of social welfare.

The Story: An undercover video produced by the pro-life group Live Action shows Planned Parenthood willing to perform sex-selection termination of a baby girl.

Denny Burk has more on Planned Parenthood’s response to the video.

  • Dave

    It’s not a “global war” per say, but rather a regional one – some countries exhibit a preference for girls. Some of this also pops up in Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men:

    In the ’90s, when Ericsson looked into the numbers for the two dozen or so clinics that use his process, he discovered, to his surprise, that couples were requesting more girls than boys, a gap that has persisted, even though Ericsson advertises the method as more effective for producing boys. In some clinics, Ericsson has said, the ratio is now as high as 2 to 1. Polling data on American sex preference is sparse, and does not show a clear preference for girls. But the picture from the doctor’s office unambiguously does. A newer method for sperm selection, called MicroSort, is currently completing Food and Drug Administration clinical trials. The girl requests for that method run at about 75 percent.

    … Male preference in South Korea “is over,” says Monica Das Gupta, a demographer and Asia expert at the World Bank. “It happened so fast. It’s hard to believe it, but it is.” The same shift is now beginning in other rapidly industrializing countries such as India and China.

    • Melody

      Talk about missing the point.

    • Joe Carter

      ***It’s not a “global war” per say, but rather a regional one***

      It would have to be a very big region to include Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, China, Cyprus, El Salvador, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Spain,Taiwan, Tunisia, Yugoslavia, and Venezuela. Each of those countries has biologically impossible ratios.

      • Dave

        The natural sex ratio is generally assumed to be about 1.05-1.07 males/female at birth in the absence of manipulation, with men having at somewhat lower life expectancy currently resulting in a slight female majority in population over time.

        Looking at countries listed by sex ratio at birth, you find 16 countries in which the ratio is outside that range and more heavily weighted towards sons, and 83 countries outside the 1.05-1.07 range, with slightly more daughter than might naturally be expected.

    • Paige Cunningham

      In her 2007 study, Das Gupta analyzes son preference, and the reasons behind the stated preference, rather than actual practice. She concludes “The sex ratio at birth in South Korea nevertheless remains high.” Among other factors, being married to an only son drives a strong preference for a son, in order to carry on the family name. Also, the preference is quite strong among Buddhists. One reason for the decline in birth ratio imbalance that has taken place is that women are marrying and giving birth at older ages, and fertility is consequently reduced. Rather than exhibit a son preference, they are grateful to have any child at all, since they are likely to have only one.

      Mari Hvistendahl covers the global and historical landscape in her recent book “Unnatural Selection.” Sex selective abortion began among the elite, and has “trickled down” to the middle class and poor as technology (ultrasound) became affordable, and as their economic circumstances began to improve.


    Sex selective abortion is a terrible thing. Is PRENDA the right way to solve the problem? Consider this article on the sacrifice we might be required to make:

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