JOE CARTER|10:42 PM CT
The Story: If you were asked to name the technologies whose proliferation inadvertently threatens the human race, what would you include? Landmines? Assault rifles? Nuclear warheads?
Add this one to your list: the sonogram machine.
The widespread use of sonogram technology—coupled with liberal abortion laws—has made it easier than ever for women to identify the sex of their child so that those without a Y chromosome can be killed before they’re even born.
In an article for The New Atlantis, demographer Nicholas Eberstadt explains the global impact of this “global war on baby girls”:
Over the past three decades the world has come to witness an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination: sex-selective feticide, implemented through the practice of surgical abortion with the assistance of information gained through prenatal gender determination technology. All around the world, the victims of this new practice are overwhelmingly female—in fact, almost universally female. The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe—and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new “missing baby girls” each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.
The Background: There is a slight, but constant and almost unvarying, excess of baby boys over baby girls born in any population. Until the 1980s the sex ratio at birth (SRB) tended to fall within a narrow range, usually around 103 to 106 newborn boys for every 100 newborn girls and typically centering no higher than 105.
Today, biologically impossible ratios have been found in various countries around the world, including Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, El Salvador, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Spain,Taiwan, Tunisia, Yugoslavia, and Venezuela. In China the SRB ranges from 120 to 150.
In America, SRBs of 108 were found to be characteristic of the “Asian-Pacific” population (Chinese Americans, Korean Americans, Filipino Americans, etc.)
Why It Matters: As Eberstadt notes in his article, “Sex-selective abortion is by now so widespread and so frequent that it has come to distort the population composition of the entire human species: this new and medicalized war against baby girls is indeed truly global in scale and scope.”
The social effect, he notes, can have “perverse and unexpected consequences” including increased demand for prostitution, an upsurge in the kidnapping and trafficking of women, increased crime, violence, and social tensions—all because of an excess of males who will never be able to marry or have a family of their own.
The solution is that cultures and countries will have to learn the intrinsic value and dignity of women. “In the final analysis, mass female feticide is a matter of ‘demand’: no demand, no female feticide,” Eberstadt told TGC. “Ending this abomination will require a moral transformation in the societies currently scarred by the practice: nothing less than a struggle for the conscience of countries can be expected to turn the tide.”
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Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator.