Some Asian Americans Using Sex-Selection Abortions to Have Boys Over Girls

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 1, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Some Asian Americans Using Sex-Selection Abortions to Have Boys Over Girls Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 1
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The practice of sex-selection abortions is most commonly associated with the cultural mores of Asian nations like China or India. But a new report indicates the influx of immigrants to the United States has brought the grisly practice here and census data is beginning to show a slight gender imbalance as a result.

Asian culture values sons as they are looked to for carrying on the family name and inheriting property and possessions. In India, girls are seen as an expense that poor and middle class families can’t afford due to costly dowries.

As Indian and Chinese immigrants come to the United States, they aren’t checking their social values at the border.

Researchers Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund have published new findings to this effect in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They say their analysis of the 2000 Census shows the odds prematurely increasing for Asian families from China, Korea and India to have a boy if they already have a girl child.

The data "suggest that in a sub-population with a traditional son preference, the technologies are being used to generate male births when preceding births are female," they wrote in the paper.

The authors responded to a question from AP and said the sex-selection abortion practice is occurring but is not widespread.

"We should emphasize that our paper does not imply that sex selection is practiced by all or even most Asian-Americans," they said.

However, the notion that some Asian Americans are engaging in sex-selection abortions may prompt members of Congress or some state legislatures to look at banning the practice and fining abortion centers that allow families to use ultrasounds to confirm a baby’s sex and have an abortion.

The authors told AP their stats show the wrongful use of ultrasound is happening more often.

"Between 1989 and 1999, prenatal ultrasound use among non-Japanese Asian mothers rose from around 38 percent to 64 percent of pregnancies," they said U.S. National Center for Health Statistics show.

While the normal male-female sex ratio is 1.05 to 1, the authors indicate the Asian Americans are inflating the odds to 1.17 to 1 if the family had one girl baby previously and 1.51 to 1 if two girl children are present.