California: Gender-selective abortions

Americans tracing their origins to China, India, and Korea have relatively few daughters. Why?

On April 11 the Daily Mail in the UK reported on the case of a little girl in India, killed by her father simply because she was a girl:

“For about a week, she tried hard to hold on and fight hard. But allegedly brutalised by her father for being born a girl, she stood little chance. Baby Neha Afreen died after a cardiac arrest in a government hospital in Bangalore on Wednesday morning. The three-month-old baby was admitted to the Vani Vilas Hospital on Thursday night, April 5, with a severe head injury, dislocated neck and bite and burn marks on her body.”

While sex-selective abortion and female infanticide is a common occurrence in India and other countries, there is now evidence that sex-selective abortions have gained a foothold in the United States.

On December 11, 2011, Forbes magazine published an article entitled “America’s Male Only Child Policy?” which began “Where are all of the girls? Two Columbia University researchers, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, were poring over U.S. Census data when they noticed a statistical anomaly: Americans from China, Korea, and India have relatively few daughters….

“Almond and Edlund quickly realized that they were looking at a statistical impossibility—a famine of females. It simply couldn’t be random chance. You can’t flip a coin and make it come up tails this many times in a row.

“They published their findings in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We find that the sex ratio of the oldest child to be normal, but that of subsequent children to be heavily male if there is no previous son.” The natural ratio of boys to girls at birth is 1.05:1. Among people of Chinese, Korean or Indian descent, the distribution of boys to girls fell in the normal range for the first child. But the second is child is much more likely to be a boy; the ratio of males to females was 1.17, Almond and Edlund note. For the third child, the distribution tilts even more male—boys outnumbered girls by 50% (1.51:1) if there was no previous son.”

The problem is particularly acute in California with its high number of Asian immigrants. On April 3 this year an article published in the “Ultrasound Digital Community” section of the auntminnie.com website profiled the work of Dr. G. Sharat Lin, of Advanced Imaging Associates of Fremont, California. On March 31, Dr. Lin addressed the convention of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine in Phoenix. His subject was “Female-Male Birth Gender Ratios in Asian Subpopulations in Santa Clara County, California.”

The article noted: “Continuing a trend identified for prior years, several California counties had abnormally low female-to-male birth ratios among Asians in 2010, a development that was associated with the proliferation of keepsake ultrasound centers that offer gender-determination services…For several years, Lin has been examining birth-gender ratios (female births per 1,000 male births) to investigate if commercial access to 4D keepsake ultrasound studies could be facilitating gender-specific abortion among Asians in California.

“In 2010, he presented research at the AIUM meeting that hinted at a relationship between keepsake ultrasound and birth-gender ratios in the state….Lin found that Asian ethnic groups in the county who were known to have a traditional gender preference for boys had clearly lower female-to-male birth ratios than those Asian ethnic groups who did not have a preference…. Statewide, Asians have had the lowest birth-gender ratio (considered to be less than 930 female births per 1,000 male births) among ethnic groups in California from 1995 to 2010.”

Both the Forbes and auntminnie.com articles coincided with the introduction of House Resolution 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act which would prohibit abortions based on the child’s sex or race. It was introduced by pro-life Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ.). In February, the House Judiciary Committee endorsed the act, but along party lines.

The bill presented pro-abortion politicians with a dilemma. As ostensible defenders of “women’s rights,” notably through the support of “a woman’s right to choose,” how would they respond when the exercise of that right results in the destruction of another woman, simply because she is a woman? Politically, the moral dilemma was simply ignored and the choice made: all 13 Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee declined to endorse the bill.

While Congressman Franks justified his bill simply: “As Americans, all of us know in our hearts that aborting a little baby because he or she happens to be the ‘wrong color’ or because or she is a little girl instead of a little boy is fundamentally wrong,” pro-abortion groups have struggled to come up with a rationale to oppose HR 3541.

They seem to have opted for the argument that the bill is racist. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, wrote that the bill "likely would restrict the ability of women of color to obtain abortion care, and ultimately could jeopardize the availability of abortion services for all women. Given that the Franks bill subjects providers to fines or a prison sentence for failure to detect that a woman is seeking abortion services for reasons of race or sex selection, the legislation essentially would encourage racial profiling in the doctor's office."

There will be a march later this month in Bangalore, India, protesting the death of little Neha Afreen. Asian-American pro-lifers are also working to raise awareness of the issue. In September, the third annual Walk for India’s Missing Girls will be held in cities around the world, including one in San Francisco.

Filed under politics, abortion, california, india, us, eugenics, women, human rights, North America

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