STUDY: More than 23 million girls missing due to sex-selective abortion

sex-selective abortion

A groundbreaking new global demographic study has found that the world is missing at least 23.1 million females who would otherwise have been born, but fell victim to sex-selective abortion.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on April 15th, resulted from a five-year project of combing through data from over 90 countries around the world identified as having the most complete statistical data for the period of the study, 1950 to 2017.

The authors attribute the millions of missing women to three causes. First, certain cultures have a strong preference for male children. Second, sex identification in the womb and legalized abortion have become widespread throughout the world. Third, “fertility has fallen to low levels” and resulted in a “squeezing effect” in which parents use sex selection to attain their preferred family composition and size.

“If the only part of the population who can produce new kids are women under the age of 45, and a whole bunch of them are missing, it’s going to have an obvious impact on the fertility of a population,” Canadian political scientist Darrell Bricker said, according to Wired.

READ: Why are sex-selective abortions so offensive, if abortion itself isn’t?

The authors found 12 countries where being a preborn girl is especially dangerous: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Republic of Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Vietnam. However, by far the vast majority of the sex-selective abortions occurred in China (11.9 million) and India (10.6 million), countries with significant cultural misogyny problems and some of the most radical and oppressive abortion policies in the world.

In India, the cultural misogyny is exhibited in violence against women which includes honor killings, dowry deaths, and culturally-accepted female infanticide and sex-selective abortion, as well as high rates of sexual violence. India was named by the Thomson Reuters foundation as one of the most dangerous countries for women in the world. 

That said, sex selection abortion isn’t just happening in these countries, as an undercover Live Action investigation revealed.


In 2005, the Chinese government outlawed sex-selective abortions, but the gender imbalance of the country is still weighted towards and rooted in the culture’s preference for sons. “It’s going to be a couple generations before this corrects completely,” said Therese Hesketh, a global health researcher at University College London.

In China and India combined, men now outnumber women by 70 million.

For abortion advocates, the practice of sex-selective abortion further reveals the moral bankruptcy of the exaltation of “choice” as the ultimate justification for abortion. The study demonstrates that misogyny and abortion “rights” go hand-in-hand. Those who support abortion must answer the hard question: are the 23.1 million missing women and girls in this world an acceptable sacrifice at the altar of “choice”?

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