February 13, 2012

Aborting unborn girls on account of their gender has been a documented trend in certain Asian countries for at least two decades.

Now, according to an Italian biologist and author, the practice is also growing in the West.

Women and couples who emigrate from cultures where male children are deemed more prestigious and economically valuable "will often bring those same values to their new country," Anna Meldolesi, author of Never Born: Why the world has lost 100 million women, said in a telephone interview.

The "missing women" in question, Meldolesi wrote, have been the victims of infanticide, intentional neglect of health and nutrition, and more recently, abortion on the basis of sex.

Using Italian statistics bureau, Meldolesi found that the "sex ratio" of first-born children appeared to occur at the natural rate of about 105 males to 100 females.

But when it came to second and third children, figures showed that the number of boys increased markedly – with the disproportion as high as 119 to 100 – indicating that parents had probably aborted female fetuses, Meldolesi said.