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New Study Undermines Claims About Bans on Abortions Based on Sex

New Study Undermines Claims About Bans on Abortions Based on Sex

June 6, 2014 — A new study from the University of Chicago refutes many arguments put forth by supporters of banning abortions based on the sex of the fetus, Mother Jones reports.

In particular, the findings undermine claims that such procedures are increasing in the U.S. and that Asians have a cultural bias against female children, according to Mother Jones.

The University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic conducted the study in conjunction with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. The researchers examined U.S. birth data, conducted interviews and surveyed peer-reviewed social-sciences research publications.

Key Findings

The study found that foreign-born Chinese, Indian and Korean parents in the U.S. have more daughters than white parents do, according to data from the 2007 and 2011 American Community Survey.

The finding contrasts with a 2008 research paper cited by many supporters of abortion bans based on sex preference, which found that women in those Asian populations are more likely to have a male child if they have already had two female children. According to Mother Jones, abortion-rights opponents said that study -- which used data that were about 15 years old -- showed that those women were aborting female fetuses.

The new study also found that Armenia and Liechtenstein have the highest male-biased sex ratios, undermining claims that the issue mainly exists in India and China.

In addition, the study found that 92% of Chinese parents, 92% of Indian parents and 84% of Korean parents do not have a sex preference if they were to have only one child.

Further, the study found that the U.S. is one of only five countries -- along with China, Kosovo, Nepal and Vietnam -- where bans on abortion based on sex exist. The finding refutes claims made by abortion-rights opponents that the U.S. is one of the only countries that does not impose such a ban.

The study also examined the effect of the bans in Pennsylvania and Illinois and found that in five years of data, there was no evidence the ban altered the states' sex ratios among infants (Redden, Mother Jones, 6/4).