You heard right. Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Radio reports that female foeticide is being practised in Australia too, by various Asian communities.
This investigative report was produced by SBS journalist Pallavi Jain, with the collaboration of SBS journalists Nila Liu and Jitarth Bharadwaj. They looked at statistics, spoke to doctors who’d been approached by Chinese and Indian families about sex determination. Diya (named changed), for instance, was thrown out by her in-laws for giving birth to a girl after she’d successfully stalled sex determination until it was too late for an abortion.
By Pallavi Jain
Could gender-selective abortions be happening in Australia?
SBS Radio investigation into pre natal sex selection has uncovered statistics suggesting that some members of Australia’s Chinese and Indian communities may also be engaging in sex selective abortions, leading to an estimated 1,395 fewer females born to Indian and Chinese families in Australia between 2003 and 2013.
Australia Bureau of Statistics data commissioned by SBS indicates an unusually high number of males born to Australian parents who were both born in either China or both born in India, far exceeding the norm, with
– 109.5 males born for every 100 females with Chinese born parents
– 108.2 males born for every 100 females with Indian born parents.
The figures represent a significant deviation from the norm when considering the standard biological sex birth ratio at birth ranges from 102 to 106 males for every 100 females born. In the same period, in all Australia, there were 105.7 males born for every 100 females born.
Macquarie University Associate Professor in Demography Dr Nick Parr said: “This indicates that there is a preference for sons amongst some members of the China born and India born communities and that there is some form of pre-natal intervention to ensure that there are sons that are born as opposed to daughters… In my opinion the most plausible explanation is that there is sex-selective abortion occurring.”
Dr Christophe Guilmoto, a Demographer at the French Research Institute for Development in Paris and one of the authors of the 2012 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report on sex selection in Asia, also agrees saying:
“I think there is no other explanation. Once we have run statistical test on this data and they show that the gap between the sex ratio at birth among these two communities…is not random, then we know there is something. There are very few ways to influence the sex of your child so the most common is to resort to sex selective abortion.”
Globally, the practice is widespread, with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimating there would be some 117 million more women in Asia alone if the gender preference was not in place.
SBS Radio’s report has more, much more to tell us. Their interviews with individuals and doctors are telling:
“And when I saw them about 8 months later, I asked them about the pregnancy and they told me that they had gone to India on a holiday and unfortunately the lady miscarried. Now it’s quite possible she miscarried but I had a very strong suspicion that that pregnancy was terminated because it could have been a girl”
“I definitely think if it was a son (…) they wouldn’t have been so hard with my daughter that they kicked a two month old baby on the streets at night”
“There has to be some form of sex selection taking place and the most plausible explanation is that there is sex selective abortion occurring”
Find the full story here.
Pallavi Jain is Senior Producer, Hindi Radio at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia.