Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sex-selection abortion happens here, and it's a problem

An article published earlier this year in the journal Social Science & Medicine is titled "There is such a thing as too many daughters, but not too many sons": A qualitative study of son preference and fetal sex selection among Indian immigrants in the United States.

From the abstract:
South Asian families immigrating to the United States find themselves in an environment where reproductive choice [i.e., abortion] is protected by law and technologies enabling sex selection are readily available. Yet there has been little research exploring immigrant Indian women's narratives about the pressure they face to have sons, the process of deciding to utilize sex selection technologies, and the physical and emotional health implications of both son preference and sex selection. We undertook semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 65 immigrant Indian women in the United States who had pursued fetal sex selection on the East and West coasts of the United States between September 2004 and December 2009. ... We found that 40% of the women interviewed had terminated prior pregnancies with female fetuses and that 89% of women carrying female fetuses in their current pregnancy pursued an abortion. These narratives highlight the interaction between medical technology and the perpetuation of this specific form of violence against women in an immigrant context where women are both the assumed beneficiaries of reproductive choice while remaining highly vulnerable to family violence and reproductive coercion.
More about sex-selection here and here.