Alarming rise in abortion of female fetuses in Europe

07.01.2013 - 11:48

Recent statistics indicate that gendercide, meaning the abortion of female foetuses because the family wishes to have a male offspring, is no longer confined only in China and India, but has become a European problem as well, especially in the Balkans.

According to a recent study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in Albania, 112 boys are born for every 100 girls, while in Kosovo and Montenegro the figures stand at 110 and 109 boys per 100 girls respectively.

Gendercide is mostly due to the fact boys are often considered the family's heir, who are expected to carry on its name and traditions, while women leave the family and attach to the husband when they marry.

In addition, as Christiane Woopen, a Cologne-based expert in medical ethics stated: “European statistics show that there are couples, who, after having three children of the same gender, are only implanted with an embryo of the other gender."

In particular, with the help of ultrasound doctors can now determine the sex of a foetus after the 14th week of pregnancy, a fact that can lead to sex selection abortions. However, aborting a foetus after this point, in the second third of a pregnancy, is illegal in many European countries, as is aborting a foetus because of its gender. This is not the case with the US, where the latter is legal.

In countries like Albania and Macedonia these EU laws are being ignored since female births keep on decreasing however, women's rights activists also see a trend towards gender selection in EU member states as well.

As a result, Danish media have indicated the existence of "abortion tourism" to Sweden, where terminating a pregnancy is legal until the 18th week. Moreover, studies from Norway and Britain suggest a gender imbalance among immigrants from Asian cultures, especially among second and third children.

In a November 2011 resolution, the Council of Europe voiced its concern over the rising trend of prenatal gender selection. But the EU has no legal say on the matter since abortion law is decided and adopted by individual states alone. As a result, EU cannot press for improvements in candidate nations either.