By Dave Andrusko
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported today that “China is vowing to harshly crack down on sex-selective abortion for non-medical purposes in order to balance sex ratio in a country that traditionally holds that male heirs can ensure their families’ bloodline is preserved, according to a government plan released Monday.”
Certainly there are reasons—tens of millions of them—for such a policy. That plan—the 2011-2020 “Outline for the Development of Chinese Children”– says efforts should made to “eliminate discrimination against girls” and continue promoting gender equity,” according to Xinhua.
China’s brutal one-child policy, preference for male heirs, and ultrasound has culminated in a sex ratio at birth in China of about 119 males to 100 females. In some provinces there are as many as 130 boys for 100 girls.
The only specific mentioned is a strict prohibition against “Using ultrasonic techniques to conduct non-medical sex determination.” Xinhau paraphrases the plan as “adding that the economic and social status of rural families raising girls should be enhanced.”
The story has a secondary purpose—to portray the government as “loosening” its barbaric one-child policy. “Guangdong Province, one of the country’s most populated provinces,” Xinhua reports, “recently submitted a proposal to the central government that will allow couples to have two children if even just one of the parents is a single child, said Zhang Feng, the province’s family planning official.”
We’ve written four separate posts on what is proving to be a highly influential book on sex-selective abortions: Mara Hvistendahl’s “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men.” Although Hvistendahl frets that her reporting of over 160 million “missing women” will be [mis]used by pro-lifers, it has helped reignite a debate that has simmered for decades: what—if anything—is to be done about the systematic elimination of females babies BECAUSE they are female!
In an interview published in June with TIME magazine’s Laura Blue, Hvistendahl discusses skeletons many pro-abortion organizations and philanthropies would have preferred kept closeted.
”A preference for sons may be rooted in centuries-old tradition, but the rising sex ratio is no more than a few decades old,” Blue wrote. “Hvistendahl explains that sex-selective abortion was in fact promoted by American scholars and non-governmental organizations in the 20th century as a way to stanch population growth. If families kept having children to ensure at least one son, the thinking went, then many ‘excess’ births could be averted by terminating the less-wanted female ones.”
[But it hasn’t been confined to sex-selective abortions. In an earlier book, Hvistendahl and historian Matthew Connelly documented that “many Americans and Europeans in Asia encouraged routine sterilization and even forced abortion among couples who already had children.”]
As we’ve discussed many, many times, the distorted imbalanced between the sexes is not confined to China. Sex ratios at birth are also unnaturally skewed in India, with 108 boys born for every 100 girls, and in South Korea too, with 110,” Blue wrote. “The imbalance also exists in parts of western Asia and Eastern Europe, where the distorted sex ratio cuts across religious, cultural and linguistic lines. In Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, for example, there are 115, 117 and 111 boys born, respectively, for every 100 girls.”
The 160 million missing women, Blue writes in an arresting sentence, “were not abductees or kidnap victims. Mostly they’re people who were never born at all” (http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/06/why-the-worlds-women-are-dwindling-in-number).
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