The War Against Girls

The War Against Girls
Since the late 1970s, 163 million female babies have been aborted by parents seeking sons

By JONATHAN V. LAST

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In “Unnatural Selection,” Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that’s as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl. By Ms. Hvistendahl’s counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence.

Ihttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576361691165631366.html

Here is a working link to the book review cited in the first post:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576361691165631366.html

I should also mention that certain chemicals we use these days for industry and agriculture have negative effects on children in utero, and primarily male children. Even tadpoles and fish in water affected by these chemicals start transforming into females, and male fetuses and children either are miscarried or have health problems, respectively. So that may mean that the sex-selective abortions are even more common, once you factor this in to the numbers.

With these problems in other countries, I wonder how the U.S. actually has more women (51 percent, I believe) than men.

Sex selection abortions are not common in the United States-yet.

You know what typically happens when men significantly outnumber women?

I certainly hope they will not be common someday- for either gender. But who knows how many American children in the past half-century were never born because their parents were using contraception?

I have heard that kidnapping young women and rape are already becoming common practices in the P.R.C. And one geographer whom I know said that polyandery will probably be legalized in China someday because of the shortage of girls, but, given the the patriarchical nature of Chinese culture, I doubt that that will ever happen.

Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about overpopulation any more, do we?

Well, aside from sex traffic, wehn you get a large population of men who have no…errmmm. “release from frustration” due to lack of partners, what do you think is usually imminent?

Violence, of course! Maybe Beijing will find an excuse to start a war just to kill off some of these “excess” men. It would make far more sense for the Chinese government to simply abolish the one-child policy than to start a war or allow polyandry, but then again, I am not a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Bingo, you win…a…this!


The point of the matter is that nature abhors a vacuum and prefers equilibrium. When “mankind” throws things out of wack, nature has a way of restoring itself to balance. Cultures around the world are creating a “vacuum” of females. The only correction for this is for men to die, and the fastest way for that to happen is through violence, usually instigated by the state, for the purposes of “national security” or somesuch nonsense.

Indeed, Mr. Lafrance. Even though nuclear weapons have so far been a bit of a barrier to any of the current world powers fighting each other in open combat, I think that World War III coming about within the next few decades is not such an implausible idea.

I’m not sure of the birth ratio cited previously, but there’s no question that the “survival to adulthood” rate among boys is lower than for girls. Boys are more prone to genetic defects, mortality from diseases, accidents and wars.

This is at least somewhat interesting from a cultural point of view. Despite all the claims that western civilization treats females badly, it does not so greatly value males over them as to kill the girls off when people are trying to limit their offspring. Pretty obviously, other cultures do not value females very much by comparison.

That is interesting and makes a lot of sense.

Actually invitro pregnancies where their is “selective reduction” most americans pick girls. (as heard on NPR 6/18 or 19)

It is very sad, but I can definitely see people doing that.

Is killing for sex-selection really worse than killing indiscriminately?

I just ran across this:

Nearly one in five abortion patients older than 20 had a college degree in 2008, and 39.5% of women who had an abortion had some college experience or earned an associate’s degree. Among women ages 20 and older, college graduates had a substantially lower rate of abortion than all other groups. Women with some college or an associate’s degree had the highest rate of abortion, followed by those who had not graduated high school and women who had graduated high school.

So rather than “Better 500 rupees [to determine the baby’s sex] now than 5000 later” it’s better $500 for an abortion than drop out or get my career knocked off track.

No good, and that’s fairly certain.

But it is certainly possible that the consequences might be put off for some time. I think the extreme boy preference is cultural, but family limitation in itself is often the result of a sort of "overvaluing’ of the idea of setting one child up well. So, if all of a Chinese family focuses on is one boy (obviously more often than not) that boy might be fairly well set by Chinese standards by the time he is an adult. He then can start looking for a mate among younger and younger girls. That obviously makes girls of their own age less available for younger boys when they reach adulthood. But then, they can do the very same thing. The normal girl preference for boys closer to their own age might be overcome by the enhanced prosperity of their older suitors.

That puts the reckoning off for a time, but not forever. It might be remembered, though, that there are a fair number of even poorer people in Asia who do not do this boy preference thing, and it could imaginably happen that fairly well off Chinese men may recruit brides from, say, Cambodia, Vietnam or Burma, sort of like the way some American men presently import them from Russia, the Balkans or the Philippines.

Women live longer than men - given the massive numbers of older Americans the overall population roughly reflects your percentage. When you break it down by age the numbers hold true from age 0 to the mid 40s or so.

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