In India and China, where cultural beliefs remain steadfast, recent reports show that the preference for sons has dramatically widened female-male birth ratios and boosted incidents of infanticide. Despite government efforts in both countries to outlaw prenatal sex determination, ultrasound tests—typically done between the fourth and sixth months of pregnancy—are increasingly popular. At about $4 per test—with the option for a same-day abortion at $15 to $120—92 percent of couples who already have a daughter choose to abort a female fetus, according to a report by Beijing University’s Population Research Institute on one county in central China.
Other villages throughout the country show similar trends, with some regions having a gender disparity as high as 144 boys for every 100 girls. China’s national average is the worlds highest in gender disparity with 117 boys for every 100 girls. Consequently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) attributes growing frequency of girls kidnapped in China to the shortage of females being born. By 2020, China is expected to have 29 to 33 million unwed men between the ages of 15 and 34, according to research published in International Security.
In India, a preference for male infants has led to an estimated 5 million abortions and 10,000 cases of infanticide every year, reported CNS News. Census data from the last 10 years demonstrate the declining sex ratio, dropping from 972 to 933 women per 1,000 men. The world average is 990 women to 1,000 men.
Experts agree that cultural shifts are needed to supplement new population policies. "[U]nless we change our customs and thinking patterns, the problem cannot be solved," said New Delhi physician Dr. Ashok Mittal.
UNFPA operates in over 130 countries across the globe providing maternal and child health programs, family planning programs, and programs aimed at the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .