Taiwan To Investigate, Punish Sex-Selective Abortion

Illustration for article titled Taiwan To Investigate, Punish Sex-Selective Abortion

In Taiwan, there are 1.09 male births for every female born. The worldwide ratio is 1.06. (For what it's worth, the gap is worse in China and India, despite it being illegal to reveal the sex of the fetus). And the Taiwanese government wants to do something about it.


Deputy Health Minister Chiang Hung-che has announced he will investigate hospitals, on penalty of losing their license. It's believed that up to 3,000 female fetuses were aborted. In one clinic, in New Taipei city, ten out of eleven babies born were male. In another hospital, nine out of ten were male.

A recent report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal analyzed the data and found that the long-term impact of sex-selective abortion will be a discrepancy of ten to twenty percent between men and women in India and China within the next twenty years, with almost certain social impact:

The societal implications mean that a significant percentage of the male population will not be able to marry or have children because of a scarcity of women. In China, 94% of unmarried people aged 28 to 49 are male, 97% of whom have not completed high school, and there are worries the inability to marry will result in psychological issues and possibly increased violence and crime.


The report also noted that law enforcement can only go so far — changing the "underlying and longstanding attitudes towards son preference" is another crucial facet: "In South Korea and China, awareness campaigns have helped reduce the sex ratio at birth (for example, 118 in 1990 in South Korea to 109 in 2004)."

Taiwan Investigates, Will Punish Hospitals If They Perform Abortions Based On Gender [WP]
Taiwan To Punish Doctors For Sex-Selective Abortions [AFP]
Related: The Impact Of Sex Selection And Abortion In China, South Korea, And India [Science Daily]

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Kat Callahan

The answer here is simple:

Primogeniture based solely on the first-born, regardless of sex of the child.

The execution of said answer is the hard part, since it automatically assumes (gasp) that female children are just as capable of carrying on family lines, property, or businesses as males are. The idea that only the male can carry on the family name, instead of the female, is arbitrary claptrap. Just put the mother's family name on the birth certificate. We've begun doing that in Western countries, but we still have a long way to go.

As for other parts of the world... Oh, I'm disrupting your centuries of tradition and offending your sensibilities? Too bad. I'm all for cultural diversity when it isn't used as justification for eugenics programs, especially when such eugenics programs automatically presume the inferiority of female children. When it is? No, sorry, no moral ambivalence there.