Endangered Gender Deserves Global Attention for Family Restoration

Just as genocide is the deliberate extermination of a race of people, gendercide is the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular gender. Reproductive female gendercide – killing female fetuses as soon as it becomes clear they are females – is occurring not just in some remote parts of the world. This reproductive gendercide, also known as female feticide, is occurring around the globe.

This phenomenon is resulting in a serious ratio imbalance for myriad nations. The natural sex ratio balance for any society is generally 100 girls for every 103-106 boys. Sex ratios at birth are being severely skewed by reproductive choices around the world. For example, recent research indicates that India’s sex ratio imbalance in 2008 was 112 boys for every 100 girls; Albania reported an imbalance of 113 boys for every 100 girls; China nationally reported a sex ratio imbalance of 118 boys for every 100 girls. In some parts of that country that ratio skews to 168 boys to 100 girls in third births. The west is just slightly behind eastern nations, as in the UK the sex ratio is also skewed 108 boys to 100 girls; the US rate is 107 – and these rates are not abating. See The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide, The Economist, available at http://www.economist.com/node/15606229, (May 4, 2010). These ratios have been moving toward greater imbalance since 2010, and are expected to continue that course into 2050. These ratios are not limited by geographic location, nor are they limited by economic ability. In fact, sex selection is prominent even among higher income families in wealthy nations. Why is that? Reproductive choice in gender selection has been aided by medical technology to those who can afford it. The proliferation and affordability of ultra sound testing, which allows for a 99% accuracy rate in determining the sex of a fetus has significantly contributed to gendercide worldwide. Another method for sex determination of a fetus – a simple non-invasive pin-prick blood test of the mother – micro-cell fetal DNA testing – which will soon be available is 100% accurate. The results of this ability according to sociological sources suggest that the world is missing more than 163 million females over the past 3 decades. Currently, according to United Nations statistics, there are 61 million fewer girls in the world than boys. To give you a context for that – there are 60 million people in the UK; all the human beings in the combined NY, NJ, and New England area equal 61 million people. That’s a lot of missing people–but that’s what the UN says we’re missing in girls. These are shocking realities.

What does this mean? The low status of females has been combined with abortion on demand, population policies that limit families to a certain number of children, and cultural mores that strongly incentivize son-preference. Girls are devalued by raw gender discrimination working through politics and culture. The evidence suggests that this problem is not abating on its own by a postmodern sense of gender equality. Rather, it is advancing around the world – by public policy in China, by cultural more in other Asian nations, and by parental eugenics in the west. What is needed is significant and concerted cultural, communications, ethical and legal pressure to ensure that no child is aborted simply because she (or he) is the “wrong” sex. I've been writing about this since 1997. See http://ssrn.com/author=183817.

Last weekend a symposium was held on this issue entitled “Endangered Gender: A Discussion on Sex-Selection Abortion,” with the screening of the new documentary “It’s a Girl: The three most dangerous words” was viewed Friday night, followed Saturday morning by an all-star team of global experts in human rights abuses who took on this issue in both its concerns and its potential solutions. Hosted by the Regent University School of Law’s Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Regent Journal of International Law, Regent Students for Life, the International Law Society, and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law, and sponsored by Diakon Baseball Group and Themus Bar Review, the symposium discussed this tragedy of fetal gender discrimination from several angles of law, policy, and culture.

Mr. Stephen Mosher, President of Population Research Institute, and internationally recognized authority on China and its population issues, discussed his research on coercive population control programs since 1979 when he was a pro-choice atheist invited by the Chinese government as the first American social scientist to that great nation. At that time he witnessed forced abortions under the then “new one-child policy.” This experience led Mosher to reconsider his spiritual conviction and to eventually become a practicing pro-life Catholic. He has testified before Congress as a world population expert, and an expert on human rights abuses, and is the author of the best-selling book A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy. His research set the stage for the discussion. Professor David Smolin, the Harwell G. David Professor of Constitutional Law, and the Director of the Center for Children, Law, and Ethics of Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Alabama spoke on the domino effect of skewed sex ratio imbalances in any society. Widely published on the missing girls of China, children’s rights, adoption, abortion, child labor, children as research subjects, and assisted reproductive technology, Professor Smolin brought a big picture perspective to what he termed “parental eugenics” in gender choice. Medical Dr. Prakash Tyagi, of India, Executive Director of GRAVIS, a development agency working toward the self-reliant empowerment of the Indian Thar Desert communities, and founder-director of GRAVIS Hospital where he practices medicine, discussed the medical and cultural aspects of sex selection abortion. An expert in international public health, Dr. Tyagi was a Fulbright scholar in international public health at UNC Chapel Hill, and a Ford Fleishman Fellow at Duke University. His Indian perspective and concern for global public health was both illuminating and personal. As a father of two young daughters himself, he noted that fathers hold the key for their daughters’ future.

The Symposium panel also included Dr. Ana Aspras Steele, former Harvard professor and current President of the DALIT Freedom Network – government relations directed social justice addressing the tragic practice of untouchability perpetrated ever day in Indian society against the Dalit people based on racial and caste discrimination. In her work as director of the DALIT Freedom Network - an evangelical organization focused on economic policy, health care, education, and social justice – Dr. Steele works hands on with women who have been forced to abort their baby girls under cultural and family pressure. Her stories were profound and disturbing, and she foresees a rise in the trafficking of women and children in the face of female fetal endangerment. Finally, and very significantly, Congressman Trent Franks, Representative (R) from Arizona related the issue to slavery and eugenics in world history. Having been a child advocate nearly his entire adult life, from the Arizona House of Representatives, to the Center for Arizona Policy, to the Head of the Arizona Governor’s Office for Children, he authored of one of the most controversial bills presented in the U.S. Congress last year, PRENDA – the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act – a bill to criminalize the knowing abortion of a child for sex-selective or gender purposes. That Act was passed by the House but failed in the Senate. It will likely be proffered again in light of global sex ratio imbalances and the outright gender discrimination inherent in them.

The Journals will be publishing scholarly articles by the panelists in their upcoming issues. To find out more go to www.regent.edu/endangeredgender. The three most deadliest words in the world should not be “It’s a Girl!”

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