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Gender-Based Sex Selection Harms Women’s Health In Asia, U.N. Report Says

“Gender biased sex selection, widespread in many parts of Asia, has serious and profoundly debilitating effects on the mental and physical health of women, says a report by five United Nations agencies,” BMJ reports.

The report, released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNFPA, UNICEF, U.N. Women and the WHO, says that a preference for sons, made possible by the “increasing availability of technologies such as amniocentesis and ultrasonography,” “is a symptom of pervasive social, cultural, political, and economic injustices against women, and a manifest violation of women’s human rights,” BMJ notes.

“The discovery of a female fetus, it argues, can lead to its abortion, and it claims that sex selection can also take place after birth through neglect or infanticide. Furthermore, failure to produce a boy may lead to rejection by the marital family or even death, it says,” according to the journal. “Women may have to continue becoming pregnant until a boy is born, thus putting their health and their life at risk,” the report states (Zarocostas, 6/21).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.