Study Confirms China Forced Abortion Policy Created Gender Imbalance

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study Confirms China Forced Abortion Policy Created Gender Imbalance Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 18, 2006

Beijing, China ( — A new study has confirmed what observers of China’s family planning policies have suspected for years. By forcing women to have abortions, sterilizing them and targeting them and their families for persecution has caused a severe gender imbalance that’s resulted in sexually exploiting women, higher crimes and other social concerns.

Conducted by Qu Jian Ding of the Institute of Population Studies at Zhejiang University and Therese Hesketh of London’s Institute of Child Health, the study finds men in the Asian nation overwhelmingly outnumber women.

The pair relied on data from 40,000 women and found that the birth rate dropped from 2.9 children before China enacted its one-child family planning policy in 1979.

The study found women above the age of 35 have 1.94 children and women under the age of 35 have 1.73 children. Both rates are below replacement level for a nation to sustain its population.

According to a Reuters report, the pair’s study found that the male-female gender imbalance moved from 1.11 in 1980-89 to 1.23 in 1996-2001.

The findings also confirm that sex-selection abortions and infanticides have been used to generate boy babies since Chinese culture, especially in rural areas, favors boys over girls.

"These findings have clear implications for decisions about future population policy," the authors wrote in the study, published in the most recent edition of the British Medical Journal.

"A relaxation of the policy could be considered in the near future," the researcher wrote, according to Reuters. "It is unlikely that a baby boom would result, and such a change in policy might help to correct the abnormal sex ratio."

The researchers also found that a majority of women wish they could have more than the one child the Chinese government allows.

About 35 percent of women studied said they want only one child, but 57 percent said they would want two and just under six percent wanted more than two children.

Chinese officials failed in June to approve a ban on sex-selection abortions, but the nation is still planning to continue its crackdown on using ultrasound machines to reveal the sex of an unborn baby for non-medical purposes.

In May, the Chinese government closed more than 200 clinics in the province of Hebei that were telling women the sex of their unborn children so they could have abortions of girl babies. The Shanghai Daily said there were 134 boys born for every 100 girls in Hebei.

Officials found 848 cases of sex-selection abortions occurring as a result of the clinics telling of the baby’s gender.

The newspaper reported that 745 hospitals and clinics were involved in the investigation and, in addition to those closed, another 374 were fined. The government opened legal cases against three medical workers involved in arranging illegal abortions.

China now has 119 boys for ever 100 girls, a gender imbalance that is far from the normal 103-100 ratio seen in industrialized nations across the globe. The imbalance has given rise to a culture of massive sex-trafficking and the kidnapping of teenagers and young adults to be forced into marriage.

The country has also become a nation of bachelors as Chinese men have problems finding potential wives and starting families. This has contributed to a rise in crime, prostitution, and other problems.

Ironically, population control officials sent portable ultrasound machines to hundreds of cities across the nation in the early 1980s to make sure women who were required to wear a birth control device kept it in. The machines were later used to determine the sex of a baby for an abortion.

Chinese couples determined to have a son easily get around the new laws as a black market has sprung up of people with ultrasound machines in the trunks of cars or house closets are willing to divulge the sex of an unborn baby for a price.

Some Chinese are selling their girl babies to those seeking girls for their sons. Chinese officials have uncovered massive baby-selling schemes including finding newborns in bags in the back of trucks and on buses on their way to be sold.

The poor parents of unwanted newborn girls sell their babies for a little as $8.