I’ve blogged previously about abnormal sex ratios of newborns and the probability that sex-selective abortions are occurring in China and India. Now there’s evidence that sex-selective abortions are happening in several post-Soviet states as well. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, the newborn sex ratio of boys to girls for first-births is 1.13 and 1.38, respectively (the natural sex ratio is 1.05). If the first child is a girl, the sex ratio of the second birth in Armenia rises to an astonishing 1.54.

Health officials believe that the desire for male children is leading some parents to opt for an abortion when they learn that their current pregnancy is a girl. That trend gets even stronger after the couple already has a girl child. The ready availability of ultrasound to determine sex early in pregnancy now makes it possible to effectively abort a fetus that is not of the desired sex.

Different cultures have different feelings about the desirability of one gender over the other in their children. Governments and health officials will have their hands full either educating parents about the need not to abort certain fetuses, or creating legal barriers to it.

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