Evidence mounts for sex-selective abortion in Asia


Publication Date: January 1995

Publisher: East-West Center

Author(s): Sidney B. Westley

Research Area: Population and demographics; Social conditions

Type: Brief

Coverage: Asia


In Asian societies with a strong preference for sons, there is growing evidence that couples are using ultrasound and other modern methods to identify the sex of unborn fetuses, followed by selective abortion of females. Population statistics in South Korea, China, Taiwan, and some parts of India show a record preponderance of male births, leading to predictions of gender imbalance in future generations. This combination of son preference with modern technology poses a social, economic, and ethical dillema for policymakers. Governments are responding by severely penalizing the use of fetal screening for sex identification and are trying to address the deep-rooted problem of son preference that underlies the incidence of sex-selective abortion.