The recent 34th anniversary of China’s “one-child policy” has focused renewed attention on sex-selection abortions. According to surveys “there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today. This gender imbalance is a major force driving sexual slavery of women and girls in Asia.”
A preference for sons in China, India and South Korea combined with easy access to sex-selective abortions has led to a significant imbalance between the number of males and females born in these countries. The sex ratio at birth (SRB) — the number of boys born to every 100 girls – is consistent in human populations in which about 105 males are born to every 100 females. However, with the advent of ultrasounds that enable sex-selection, the sex ratio at birth in some cities in South Korea climbed to 125 males by 1992 and is over 130 in several Chinese provinces from Henan in the north to Hainan in the south.
In 2005 in China, “it was estimated that 1.1 million excess males were born across the country and that the number of males under the age of 20 years exceeded the number of females by around 32 million,” writes Professor Therese Hesketh, UCL Centre for International Health and Development, London, United Kingdom with coauthors.
In certain parts of India too similar disparities exist, with sex ratios as high as 125 male births to every 100 female ones in Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat in the north where the more wealthy inhabitants of these states have access to ultrasound (scans), allowing the sex of the baby to be detected before birth; it has resulted in decades of sex-selective abortions, creating an acute lack of women. (In the less affluent areas of the southern and eastern states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh normal sex ratios of 105 male babies to every 100 female still exist.) These statistics are extremely indicative of the large scale destruction via abortion of baby girls in northern India taking place, once the ‘wrong’ gender of the baby becomes known to the mother and family!
According to a startling recent CNN report, in India: “Traffickers capitalize on the shortage by recruiting or kidnapping women ensnared in poverty to sell as brides…
As fertility declines, people choose not only the number of children they have, but also choose the sex of the child,” says Poonam Muttreja, a prominent campaigner for women’s rights and an adviser to the government. “And everyone wants a son.”
Patriarchy is so entrenched in our society. Girls are unwelcome visitor(s) in our own homes, and that’s how they are treated.
The skewed sex ratio is due to what Puneet Bedi, a Delhi suburb gynecologist, calls “mass murder on an unprecedented scale.” Census data shows some districts in India have fewer than 800 girls born for every 1,000 boys, leaving male-heavy villages.”
Many people are under the impression that this is a problem existing solely in Asia (and it must be acknowledged that while in the West the preference for boys is still only very slightly higher than for girls, it is far off reaching the same levels as in some countries of Asia) sex-selective abortions for other reasons, often no more than on the whim of the parents, are gradually on the increase here too.
An article in the Catholic Herald by Rob Flello on 28th October, entitled “Action must be taken to curb sex-selective abortion before it becomes a major problem in the UK“, states:
“This coming Tuesday (November 4) will see a debate in the House of Commons over the Abortion (Sex Selection) Bill, put forward by Fiona Bruce MP. This Bill seeks to clarify the law, and to support in statute the view that abortion on the grounds of the baby’s sex is unlawful – which is the stated policy of the current government…
There is a great need for this Bill. The current legal situation is highly ambiguous. It has been said with some justification that in many parts of the world the most dangerous words are, “It’s a girl”. Abortion on the grounds of the child’s sex is endemic in parts of India and China. Indeed, the latter country now has a severe imbalance between the sexes, exacerbated by the vicious and barbaric one-child policy. Pre-natal gender testing has been formally banned in India for two decades, under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.
Now it seems that sex-selective abortion may be spreading in the UK. Evidence has been accumulating steadily for the last year or so that sex-selective abortion may be happening here, although it does not (yet) appear to be happening on a large scale…”
I decided to look a little further into this disturbing news and discovered that the sex-selective abortion issue is not only growing in the UK and other English-speaking Western nations, in particular among our growing Asian immigrant populations, including those in the USA, but among Europeans in the EU too and those outside the EU that have small Asian minorities.
“Recent statistics indicate that gendercide, meaning the abortion of female fetuses because the family wishes to have a male offspring, is no longer confined only in China and India, but has become a European problem as well, especially in the Balkans.
According to a recent study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in Albania, 112 boys are born for every 100 girls, while in Kosovo and Montenegro the figures stand at 110 and 109 boys per 100 girls respectively.
Gendercide is mostly due to the fact boys are often considered the family’s heir, who are expected to carry on its name and traditions, while women leave the family and attach to the husband when they marry.
In countries like Albania and Macedonia EU laws [against sex selection abortion] are being ignored since female births keep on decreasing; however, women’s rights activists also see a trend towards gender selection in EU member states as well. As a result, Danish media have indicated the existence of “abortion tourism” to Sweden, where terminating a pregnancy is legal until the 18th week…”
This whole thing is not only creating a huge social problem in many countries, it is also a terrible tragedy, when you consider that it points to millions of babies who were killed or abandoned by their parents simply because they were girls! Abortion is always a terrible evil, one of the four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, but that it should be executed on an innocent baby for the sole reason of its sex is quite frankly staggering in its cruelty.
The Bible abounds with passages that declare the personhood and the dignity of all unborn children, boys and girls. Consider, for example, the witness of the Prophet Jeremiah (1:4-5), “The word of the Lord came to me thus: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” In Psalm 138 (vs. 13-14), the psalmist says to God, “Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works.”
Even more significant for us Christians is the witness to unborn life found in the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Here, two mothers with their children still in the womb, Jesus and John, rejoice at the communication of joy that takes place between their unborn sons. Elizabeth cries out with exultation (Lk 1:42f), “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb… For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”
On the solid foundation of this biblical witness, the Catholic Church, from the beginning, has consistently and clearly taught that abortion is intrinsically evil.
No.2258 of the Catechism states: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.“