Selective Abortions Could Reduce At Least 4.7 Million Girl Births Globally Over Next 10 Years, Study Finds | Photo: BigStock

Selective abortions could lead to a decline of at least 4.7 million girl births globally over the next ten years, a study by an international team of researchers published on Tuesday showed.

Over the past 40 years, the number of selective abortions has increased in countries that culturally prefer male children, especially from Southeast Europe to South and Southeast Asia, says the article. Besides the harm itself of the practice of abortion on girls, this “selection” has other harmful consequences for populations suffering from the imbalance between men and women.

“A smaller than expected number of women in a population can result in high levels of antisocial behavior and violence, and can affect long-term stability and sustainable social development,” the authors state.

Scientists also point out that the preference for male babies, which results in a demographic imbalance between men and women, could lead to a “marriage tightening” in affected countries, with a shortage of suitable women for marriage.

The research, published in BML Global Health, analyzed data from more than 3 billion births over the past 50 years to reach these conclusions and make projections on the short- and long-term effects that “gender selection” has. Will have on the company.

Two scenarios were developed to quantify the sex ratio in countries in the future. In the first scenario, the most conservative trends were analyzed for the 12 countries with the strongest evidence of gender imbalance at birth – which led to the projection that the world would lose an estimated 4.7 million girls. which could be born until 2030.

The projected deficit in this scenario is smaller than that recorded between 1970 and 2020 – where around 49.4 million births to girls were “lost” – due to the projection of a gradual recovery in the coming years of the imbalance. between the birth of boys and that of boys. girls in China and India, two populous countries where the preference for male children results in a disproportion between men and women in society.

China announced in May this year that it would allow couples to have up to three children, in a relaxation of the one-child policy imposed for decades in the country.

The second scenario included countries where these trends are not sufficiently verified, due to lack of data, but where trends of increasing prenatal sex selection and fertility are observed. According to these estimates, up to 22 million girls who would be born by 2100 worldwide would be lost.

This scenario included 17 countries that are likely to change the proportion of births to boys and girls in the future, at the turn of the century, due to the preference for male children. The authors stress, however, that the projections of this scenario are hypothetical, as they depend on the evolution of fertility rates in countries such as Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania.

For the United Nations (UN), prenatal sexual choice, as well as child marriage and female genital mutilation, are harmful practices that must be combated in the context of the Millennium Development Goals.