Sex-selective abortion causing massive gender imbalance in Taiwan

The government agency estimated that sex-selection abortion has resulted in up to 3,000 missing female babies each year.
Thu Dec 8, 2011 - 5:09 pm EST

TAIPEI, December 8, 2011 ( - A report released December 7 from the Control Yuan, the Taiwanese government’s highest watchdog body, warns that sex-selective abortion is creating a serious gender imbalance in the country, second only to China.

Control Yuan stated that, according to data compiled by the Department of Health, Taiwan’s gender ratio at birth from 2004 to 2010 was between 108 and 112 males for every 100 females, compared to a natural ratio of about 106 males to 100 females. The government agency estimated that this has resulted in up to 3,000 missing female babies each year.

Control Yuan member Gau Fehng-shian told the Taipei Times that sex-selective abortion “could explain the higher sex ratio at birth for a family’s third child compared with the first and second child, and the higher sex ratio at birth for mothers aged 35 compared with young mothers.”


“The data showed that mothers are still under pressure to produce a son and heir if their first or second children are girls or when they are advanced in age,” she said.

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The government watchdog criticized the Bureau of Health Promotion and the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to monitor abortion providers.

Taiwan’s abortion law stipulates that a woman can undergo an induced abortion “if the pregnancy adversely affects the psychological or physical health of the woman or her family life.” However, sex-selective abortion is illegal.

Control Yuan also reportedly censured the FDA for failing to regulate the RU486 abortion pill, estimating that between 41,000 and 54,000 people use the pill per year.  The FDA does not gather any data on the pill’s consumption, market scope, origin and distribution, or legality of use.

Taiwan already suffers from one of the lowest total fertility rates in Asia, at 0.91 children per woman, and an astonishingly high abortion rate.

Dr. Lue Hung-chi, professor of paediatrics at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 abortions are carried out in Taiwan each year, while only 166,000 babies were born in 2010 on the island nation of about 23 million.

Dr. Lue told the Asia Sentinel that measures must be implemented to encourage people to have children, and counseling should be initiated to provide an environment that facilitates adoption.

According to Asia Sentinel, President Ma Ying-Jeou recently declared the low birthrate a national security issue.

  abortion, china, sex selection abortions, taiwan

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