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“The Slaughter of Eve”: Sex-Selection Abortion and Infanticide Help Explain 200 Million “Missing Women”

As a result of sex-selection abortion, female infanticide, and other violence against women, the world is missing some 200 million women from its population figures, according to a recent report delivered to the United Nations.

The report, titled “Women in an Insecure World,” was produced by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

It was released on November 17, 2005, and employs data and statistics gleaned from UN sources.

An executive summary of the DCAF report, available at, states that

… up to 200 million women and girls are demographically “missing.” The euphemism hides one of the most shocking crimes against humanity. Given the biological norm of 100 new-born girls to every 103 new-born boys, millions more women should be living amongst us. If they are not, if they are “missing,” then they have been killed, or have died through neglect and mistreatment.

Some of these women are victims of domestic violence, some are girls who simply fail to receive the food or medical care given their brothers. However, the report indicates that substantial numbers are killed because of gender or sex selection abortions or infanticide.

According to the report, Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Laureate for Economics, estimates that more than 60 million women are missing from world population figures as a result of sex selection abortions and infanticide practiced in China, South Asia, and North Africa.

The executive summary declares,

Infanticide has been practised throughout human history in societies where boy children are valued, economically and socially, above girls.

Advances in technology permit the modern horror of selectively aborting female foetuses. Medical testing for sex selection, although officially outlawed, has become booming business in China, India and the Republic of Korea.

Statistics cited in the report bear out the “gendercide.” While the normal ratio of girls to boys in births is 100 to 103, the report says that China’s 2000 census showed 100 girls born for every 119 boys. India’s 2001 census found 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under age six, 35 fewer females per thousand males than had been reported 20 years earlier.

Other sources show that in certain Indian provinces, the ratios are far worse. In 2001, the provinces of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, and Gujarat had less than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys. In one city in Punjab, the ratio in 2001 was just 754 females born for every thousand males (British Medical Journal, 11/1/03).

India banned the use of ultrasound for sex determination in 1996, but statistical evidence suggests that this edict has not been strictly followed or enforced.

While the DCAF summary mentions only a few countries by name, additional sources indicate the problem may be more widespread. According to a staff working paper prepared as a backgrounder for a meeting of the President’s Council for Bioethics in January of 2003, countries like Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Pakistan also have male to female birth ratios outside the norm. Cuba also has a high male to female ratio, along with the Caucuses nations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia (

Western countries are not untouched. In 1990, Newsday reported on one California ultrasonographer who was conducting business in a small town in Washington state just across the Canadian border. Immigrants, primarily Indian, coming over from Canada, would use him to determine the sex of their unborn children.

According to Newsday, “nearly all will have abortions if they learn the babies they are carrying are girls.” At the time, the doctor was considering opening offices in Niagara Falls or Buffalo to cater to the large Indian population in Toronto (Newsday, 12/2/90).  The New York Times found evidence of sex-selection abortion in the U.S. in 1988, with various geneticists saying they were being contacted regularly to do prenatal diagnoses for sex selection (12/25/88). According to the backgrounder for the President’s Council on Bioethics mentioned above, ratios of boy to girl births in the U.S. are generally close to the norm, but sex ratios for Chinese and Japanese Americans increased significantly between 1984 and 2000.

“We are confronted with the slaughter of Eve, a systematic gendercide of tragic proportions” said Theodor Winkler, director of the DCAF center that produced the report. While the report details violence perpetrated against women throughout their life times, Winkler told Reuters (11/18/05) that “It starts in the womb. There are societies where male births are preferred, particularly if the number of births is limited. That’s where abortion for gender reasons starts.”
[By Randall K. O’Bannon; National Right to Life News, 12/05]