Unnatural Selection: How So Many Girls Were Never Born

In normal human reproduction, there is a natural tendency to have more boys than girls…the ratio is about 104 to 100. But a new book by Mara Hvistendahl has come out about how much this has changed over the past fifty years and the dramatic repercussions that changing this ratio is having and will have on future societies.

It began with our ever-increasing ability to determine a baby’s sex…first amniocentesis in the mid-’70s which was used to spot birth defects became the ‘sex test’ in India and other countries where having sons was very important. In the book, called Unnatural Selection, she cites an ad for an Indian clinic with the tag line “Better 500 rupees now than 5000 later, ” referring to the cost of the dowry for any girls who eventually grow up to wed.

Now, ultrasound machines give a cheap and even easier read, and the ability to abort girls has led to more than 163 million females never being born at all. With more and more boys being born due to abortions, societies are slipping into an undesirable pattern: where men dominate the population, things are not ever good. Surplus men are looking hard to find wives, and in some Chinese provinces crime has spiked.  The more men, the more crime, say criminologists. In some parts of China it’s 118 to 100, and the same in much of India.

The author’s well researched book looks at what happens when men have to compete so hard to find wives. They begin to bring in young women from other countries, in China’s case, Vietnam.  The result is an underclass of women who will never be equals as wives, but remain an underclass.

There was a time when Planned Parenthood believed that all of this abortion against females would help tamp down soaring populations, yet Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb never really materialized in most places. In a review of the book in the WSJ, the author calls this book one of the most consequential books ever written against abortion.

It’s a “heat seeking missile against the entire intellectual framework of ‘choice.’  It’s the ultimate example of how far choice can take people, and the consequences are still unknown, yet the signs of male dominated societies over history point to bad things on the way.