In the United States, the unborn most in danger are those with biological defects—indeed, 90% of babies believed to have Down’s syndrome are aborted. In China and India, however, a fetus does not have to be physically handicapped to be at a greater risk: it just has to be female.
This phenomenon—now often referred to as “gendercide”—has not always relied on abortion. Infanticide has been and continues to be a common occurrence following the birth of a baby girl. China’s one-child policy plays a large role. Without a son, there is no heir; so when parents may only have one child, they want it to be male. With the rise of ultrasound technology in the last two decades, however, parents do not have to wait 9 months to find what they are having—and as a result, many are terminating pregnancies upon discovering that their baby is not a boy.
The natural ratio of men to women is somewhere between 104 and 106 men for every 100 women. Current research reveals that this ratio is off by as much as 112 to 100 in India and 121 to 100 in China. Mara Hvistendahl, researcher and author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, believes the ratio to be as high as 150 to 100 in some areas of China. She further estimates that the world is short 163 million women due to sex-selective abortion and infanticide in the past 30 years.
The implications of this statistic are grave. Male-dominated societies are historically more violent and economically less productive. Though valued more highly due to their increasing scarcity, women who have survived the womb are in trouble. Many are sold into marriages or stolen by men in need of wives.
Hvistendahl’s solution? Outlawing the practice of telling parents the sex of their preborn child (which, incidentally, is already illegal in China and India). Not outlawing abortion, which she refers to as “feminists’ worst nightmare.”
Hvistendahl’s research is eye-opening in spite of her conclusions. It brings into greater relief that which those in the pro-life movement have known all along: the tragedy and consequences of abortion.