According to recent reports, the widespread use of abortion as a means of family planning in combination with the widespread availability of prenatal sex-determination technology lead to a new global trend: sex-selective abortion.
The reason for this trend is that a deeply entrenched son preference exists in many countries and cultures. If parents want, or are constrained, to limit the number of their children, they will therefore use prenatal diagnostics to determine the sex of their child. This widespread practice, which has aptly been termed “gendercide” by some observers, has lead to an enormous imbalance between male and female births. Among the countries most strongly affected by this new trend are China (where, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Science, 124 boys are born for every 100 girls), India (where the ratio is similarly skewed), South Korea, Taiwan, but also some European countries.
This gender imbalance constitutes a serious threat for global security. The selective pre-natal killing of females will in the near future lead to a further radical decline of birth rates, which could dangerously undermine the sustainability of entire national economies. It is foreseeable that large numbers of young males without any prospect of being able to find wives and founding families creates a dangerous potential of social unrest, violence and political radicalization.
The Parliamentary Assembly should therefore discuss this subject and invite the member states of the Council of Europe to condemn sex-selective abortion, wherever and whenever it occurs, if they have not already done so, adopting policies and legislative measures to restrict the use of pre-natal diagnostics strictly to identify medical conditions that can be treated during pregnancy and to prevent it from being used for the purposes of sex-selective abortions. It would therefore be very important to promote the adoption and enforcement of such measures in the mentioned third countries.