The Independent, a British daily, revealed that gender-based abortion is a widespread but illegal practice in Great Britain. The newspaper noted in a January 17 report that pre-natal selection of female babies has led to the "disappearance" of between 1,400 and 4,700 girls in England and Wales. The report also demonstrated that about 10 percent of the 190,000 abortions carried out in the two regions during 2011 were carried out after 13 weeks of gestation, when fetal sex organs can be clearly distinguished through ultrasound imaging. With ultrasound scans, physicians can predict the sex of infants in utero with an accuracy of over 99 percent.
Sex-selective abortion has been denounced in the UK and is a growing phenomenon in the balance of the European Union. For example, the number of delayed voluntary abortions has doubled in the Netherlands since 2007 when the introduction of a general ultrasound scan in the twentieth week of pregnancy confirmed the sex of babies in utero. The practice has been observed in Sweden, while the Norwegian Public Health Agency denounced that as of five years ago "families could make the most of the longer timeframe in neighboring countries to have an abortion after finding out the sex of the fetus. So far, the practice is uncommon in France.
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a study published in December 2013 by the French National Institute for Demographic Studies showed that in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, the practice of gender-specific abortion is growing. It noted a high male birth rate as evidence of sex-selective abortion.
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