Prenatal testing done in Hong Kong allows Chinese couples to easily evade law against sex determination tests

Editor’s note. This comes from Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.

Citing a new report that laws meant to prevent sex-selective abortion are easily evaded by couples who do not want daughter, Women’s rights activist Reggie Littlejohn has renewed her call for an end to China’s coercive population control regime.

“The Chinese government has been lauded by many for its supposed ‘loosening’ of its one-child policy, yet the coercive nature of the program remains, and it continues to result in the selective abortion of countless girls,” said Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition that opposes forced abortion and female gendercide. “It is a travesty that most women’s rights organizations remain silent in the face of this attack on women and girls.”

Littlejohn’s comments came in response to an article from a Chinese news service (“In pursuit of boy babies, families send samples to HK for sex tests, abort girls”) that married couples are circumventing mainland Chinese law against sex determination tests for unborn children by employing genetic testing companies in Hong Kong. Due to strong traditional preferences for boys and government limits on the number of children allowed, many girls are aborted, abandoned, or neglected after birth.

The article features the story of a young woman who sent a sample of her blood to a Hong Kong-based medical organization. The day after receiving the results showing she was most likely pregnant with a girl child, she had an abortion.

“We predicted last year that the increasing availability of non-invasive pregnancy tests (NIPTs) and the modified two-child policy would result in an increase, not a decrease, in sex-selective abortion,” said Littlejohn. “In fact, with the two child policy, odds are increased that girls will be selectively aborted. Couple’s whose first child is a girl will often abort the second child if she is also a girl. Second daughters remain endangered.

“The combination of son preference with the Chinese government’s coercive low birth limit has created a culture that oppresses females,” Littlejohn continued. “The ripple effects of these biased and destructive policies are seen both in the highly skewed birth ratio between male and female babies, and the widespread practice of sex trafficking of women and girls as prostitutes or forced brides.”

In addition, “This is the latest example demonstrating that the Chinese Communist Party’s switch to a Two Child Policy will not end human rights abuses. China’s forced population control system remains in place, as do the conditions giving rise to gendercide,” Littlejohn continued.

“The only hope is to counter son-preference and save girls, one family at a time. We have saved more than 200 at-risk baby girls from sex-selective abortion or abandonment. The rise of the early sex-determination technology makes our ‘Save a Girl’ Campaign all the more urgent.”