“There is a danger in jumping too far ahead and making predictions about what will happen,” she added, “but I think this will be a major issue in China and India for social stability.”
“The governments in both countries are very worried,” she said, noting that men statistically commit more violent crimes in societies.
It's a troubling prospect that Hvistendahl is not alone in noticing.
Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt – a political economist, demographer and member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health – has often referred to the problem as a “war on baby girls.”
He outlined for CNA the three major factors he believes have led to the current crisis of gender imbalance.
The first is what he calls a “ruthless” son preference that is present in numerous cultures and religious systems.
That, coupled with the second problem of smaller families due to population control efforts such as China's “coercive” one-child policy, has made couples' quests for sons even more aggressive, he noted.
“When parents have five, six children, the gender outcome at birth isn't that critical,” Eberstadt said.
“But when parents are only going to have one or two children, the sex of that child seems to become something that parents want to have a say about.”
Eberstadt said that the third factor in the rise of sex-selective abortion in these countries is reliable, accessible and inexpensive prenatal gender determination technology, such as ultrasound machines, in areas with “policy environments of unconditional abortion.”
Despite the glaring human rights abuses caused by the practice, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been largely silent on the issue – a fact that's been noted by Hvistendahl and other experts.
(Story continues below)
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Dr. Susan Fink Yoshihara, director of the International Organizations Research Group and vice president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, told CNA that the population fund has played “a major role” in the increase of sex-selective abortion.
“They do this by refusing to condemn the practice and mainly by promoting its two main causes: fertility control and increasing (the) availability of abortion.”
If the United Nations fund “says it promotes women’s rights,” Yoshihara said, “why do its leaders refuse to condemn this egregious practice of killing girls?”
Its “leadership has instead issued directives to its employees time and again that show UNFPA is more concerned with promoting abortion than defending women’s right to life.”
Adding to the problem is what many call the ineptitude of U.S. leadership in effectively addressing the issue of forced population control.
Vice President Joe Biden sparked controversy during his recent trip to China where he told leaders that he “fully understood” the country's one-child policy and was not “second guessing” it.