New research indicates that sex-selective abortions may have resulted in the deaths of more than 23 million girls around the world.
Research from the National University of Singapore, reported in the New Scientist, found that since sex-selective abortion became readily available in the 1970s, male births dominated in twelve countries.
The majority of “missing” females are in China and India.
Researchers analysed data from 202 different countries for 1970 to 2017, looking specifically at sex ratio at birth and sex ratio imbalance.
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Tunisia and Vietnam showed an excess of male births.
China alone accounts for 51 per cent of the missing girls (11.9 million), and India a further 10.6 million.
The researchers said: “The sex ratio at birth imbalance in parts of the world over the past few decades is a direct consequence of sex-selective abortion, driven by the coexistence of son preference, readily available technology of prenatal sex determination, and fertility decline.”
The New Scientist first reported on India “missing about 10 million daughters” in 2006 when Prabhat Jha, at the University of Toronto, conducted a study of 1.1 million households across India.