Parental preference for producing sons rather than daughters in a number of societies has led to the aborting of more than 160 million female babies since the late 1970s, an author contends.
Writing about the book “Unnatural Selection” by Mara Hvistendahl, Jonathan V. Last, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, notes that the natural ratio of 105 boys for every 100 girls is “biologically ironclad.”
What is causing the skewed ratio is abortion.
“If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl,” Last writes in an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
"By Ms. Hvistendahl’s counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world.”
What made the skewed ratio possible is the availability of amniocentesis in the mid-1970s, and later ultrasound, to determine the gender of a child before birth.
Last cites an ad put out by an Indian clinic that states, “Better 500 rupees now than 5,000 later,” referring to the price of a sex-determination test versus the cost of a dowry for a daughter.
Skewed sex ratios have had some unpleasant and often violent repercussions through history, Hvistendahl points out, citing the dearth of women along the frontier in the “wild” American West. In 1870, the sex ratio west of the
Last also cites the danger that with prenatal sex determination reducing the number of females, “a small but still significant group of the world’s women will end up being stolen or sold from their homes and forced into prostitution or marriage.”
And he goes on to say that “if ‘choice’ is the moral imperative guiding abortion, then there is no way to take a stand against ‘gendercide.’ Choice is choice.”