The UK Independent reports that the "abortion of female foetuses solely to ensure that families have sons is widely practised within some ethnic communities in Britain and has resulted in significant shortfalls in the proportion of girls".
Reporting on an investigation by the newspaper, Science Editor, Steven Connor said that "the practice of sex-selective abortion is now so commonplace that it has affected the natural 50:50 balance of boys to girls within some immigrant groups and has led to the “disappearance” of between 1,400 and 4,700 females from the national census records of England and Wales".
"A government investigation last year found no evidence that women living in the UK, but born abroad, were preferentially aborting girls. However, our deeper statistical analysis of data from the 2011 National Census has shown widespread discrepancies in the sex ratio of children in some immigrant families, which can only be easily explained by women choosing to abort female foetuses in the hope of becoming quickly pregnant again with a boy," he wrote.
The Independent said it "concentrated on the numbers and genders of second-born children within these families to see whether families whose first child was a daughter were more likely to have a son as their second child."
Studies in other countries, notably Canada, have indicated that couples in some immigrant groups are willing to “accept” a daughter as their first child, but then abort girls in future pregnancies to ensure the second child is a boy. We found that in two-child families of some first-generation immigrants, having elder daughters significantly increases the chances of the second child being male – an imbalance in the sex ratio that should not occur naturally.
To double-check our analysis, we asked professional statisticians to analyse the data in more detail. They confirmed that the effect is statistically significant and that there are only two plausible explanations, which are not mutually exclusive – either gender-based abortion or the practice of women continuing to have children until a son is born.
The latter phenomenon might explain most of the gender imbalances we observed in two-child families, said Christoforos Anagnostopoulos, a lecturer in statistics at Imperial College London. However, it could not explain some sex-ratio anomalies that persisted across families of all sizes, notably for mothers who were born in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
“The only readily available explanation that is consistent with a statistically significant gender shift of the sort observed in the census data is gender-selective abortion,” Dr Anagnostopoulos said. “In the absence of a better theory, these findings can be interpreted as evidence that gender-selective abortion is taking place.”
Read the full report here http://www.independent.co.uk/n...
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