Tuesday, January 6, 2009

an unfortunate import: sex-selection abortion "comes to America"

The title of a report from the Population Research Institute on some research (hat tip: Touchstone)...

The flip side of ultrasound is that it makes this more possible. Knowledge alone will not necessarily result in better outcomes-- or to paraphrase GE's (old?) motto, "bringing good things to life".

This has been prevalent in other countries, particularly Asian and Muslim. With those populations increasing here, has this practice been imported?

According to a recent study published by the National Academies of Science, it already has.

Looking at data from the 2000 U.S Census, researchers noticed a strange phenomenon. The U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian parents tended to be male. The researchers, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, called this "son-biased sex ratios."

Taking their study a step further, they considered the effect of birth order. First-born children of Asians showed normal sex ratios at birth, roughly 106 girls for every 100 boys. If the first child was a son, the sex ratio of the second-born children was also normal.

But what happened if the first child was a girl? The second child tended to be a boy. Almond and Edlund found that "This male bias is particularly evident for third children: If there was no previous son, sons outnumbered daughters by 50%." That means that, for every 150 boys, there were only 100 hundred surviving girls. The rest had been eliminated.

The authors quite rightly interpret this "deviation in favor of sons" the only way they possibly could, namely, as "evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage." In other words, as early as a decade ago, Asian-American communities in the U.S. were already practicing sex-selective abortion.

Similar sex imbalances have also been documented among Canada’s Asian immigrant communities. The Toronto Globe & Mail reported that “Figures from the 2001 census supplied by Statistics Canada suggest a slight skew in the usual gender ratio among people with South Asian backgrounds...


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