Taiwan’s crackdown on sex-selective abortion showing marginally positive results
TAIPEI, January 31, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A report from Taiwanese health authorities says that a crackdown on illegal sex-selective abortions prevented the deaths of nearly 1,000 female unborn babies in 2011.
Taiwan’s health authorities began warning doctors last year that they could have their licenses revoked if they were found guilty of committing sex-selective abortions.
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.
“The strict measures have paid off,” Lee Tsui-feng, an official at the Bureau of the Health Promotion, told AFP.
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Department of Health figures showed Taiwan’s gender ratio at birth from 2004 to 2010 was between 109 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.
However, figures from 2011 showed that 108 males babies were born for every 100 female babies. “That’s the same as 993 female fetuses saved last year,” Lee said.
The Bureau of the Health Promotion observed that the slight decrease in female feticide is a positive step toward reducing a looming massive gender imbalance, though Lee said it may take another four or five years to weed out the illegal sex-selective abortion practice entirely.
Taiwan has one of the lowest total fertility rates in Asia, at 0.91 children per woman, and an astonishingly high abortion rate, estimated at about three abortions to every one live birth
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, according to a 2011 report by the Asia Sentinel.