At the UN this week, renowned scholar Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) warned delegates of the growing global gender imbalance due to prenatal sex selection and sex selected abortions. Calling the trend a "Global War against Baby Girls", Eberstadt delivered extensive statistics on the rise of "son preference" in every part of the world.
Refuting the assumptions that preference for baby boys is a localized cultural phenomenon or due solely to coercive population programs, Eberstadt's research reveals that imbalance is due to several factors: an existing preference for sons, a decrease in overall fertility, and the exponential increase in the use of technology which facilitates sex selection in the prenatal stages. He also emphasized that a rise in education levels does not slow the problem and in some cases is associated with increases in aborting baby girls.
According to Eberstadt, natural birth rates are about 105 males for every 100 females born. Some regions of the world are experiencing upwards of 115 boys born for every 100 girls, some are as high at 150 boys born for every 100 girls. He warned delegates that this could just be the beginning and that the world is "moving to the realm of science fiction" as the ratio of baby boys to baby girls was already at levels "beyond nature." Citing a recent study, Eberstadt said that even now there are 20 million "missing" baby girls in Asia alone, that sex-selected abortions have permanently skewed the demographic balance of China and are in the process of skewing the demographic balance of India. He also showed the way that the trend has crept into Eastern Europe and Latin America, and that almost every African state is showing signs of vulnerability to the phenomenon.
Since 1994, the UN has recognized that "son preference" is discriminatory to women and girls and the Beijing Platform for Action lists female infanticide and prenatal sex selection as incidences of violence against women.
The recent Violence Against Children (VAC) study released earlier this year made no mention of the problem of sex-selected abortions whereby parents are forced or coerced to choose one or two children and almost inevitably choose to abort unborn girls. The 139-page in-depth Violence Against Women (VAW) study also released this year only referred to prenatal sex selection three times.
A delegate who attended the lecture told the Friday Fax, "This is astonishing. The research clearly shows that this is a growing problem all over the world. It is our job as delegates to seek solutions."
Experts say solutions will be hard to come by. Eberstadt pointed out that when South Korea made sex selected abortions illegal, the practice sky-rocketed. It is likely the only cure will be a curb on all abortions. Experts also point out that a rising imbalance of boys to girls will lead to trafficking in women and could contribute to an increasing national security concerns.
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