Increased Abortion Rates in Asia and Africa

The rapid rise of the global population has led several countries to panic. This increase has prompted several demographers to predict that by the year 2050 the global population will have grown to about 9-10 billion people. Among the estimated 10 billion individuals, 62% will live in Africa and Asia. This rise in the population has put tremendous stress on the governments of the developing countries within these regions. In Asia, increased abortion rates are influenced by the desire to have a son rather than a daughter. In Africa increased abortion rates have occurred because women are fearful that other contraceptives will make them infertile[1]. As a result, Africa and Asia are responsible for about 50% of the global abortion rate.

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China was the first Asian country to begin abortion practices 30 years ago. Abortion was the middle class communities way of responding to China’s 1 child policy[2]. As technologies in developing countries were made more available, abortion became very popular among the middle class. Middle class families were forced to limit their family size through abortion, or pay monetary penalties to keep a second child. Individuals within this financial bracket are too poor to pay a monetary penalty however, they can afford the price of abortion. In many cultures, Males tend to be more valued. In Asian and African cultures males take care of their parents, maintain the household, and carry the family name. Women in Asia and Africa are seen as less valuable based upon cultural traditions. As a result, a several families have chosen to, abort their child if it is female. This trend, has now spread across other Asian and African countries and has created a new problem of excess abortion. In addition to complying with government orders, several families also want to limit the size of their family because of the burden that children are both economically and health wise.

The trend of aborting babies has had ramifications on the population of Asia and Africa. In several countries such as India, the TFR (total fertility rate) has dropped from and average of 6 to 2.51[3] children. This drop is a result of abortion, family planning, and sex education[4]. Although the drop in TFR is looked upon as positive by the government, it has taken a large beating on the women of Asia and Africa. The women whom were previously having several of children are generally of extremely low income. These women tend to be uneducated and do not use contraceptives. Several women fear that contraceptives will cause infertility therefore, they resort to abortion. Although TFR rates have decreased, low-income women find themselves resorting to abortion. Because of their low income, they are unable to afford an abortion as a solution to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. Often these unwanted children are a direct result of lack in education. In Kenya, several uneducated women resort to prostitution to try and earn a living. In these situations, majority of the women have unsafe sex, which leads to unwanted pregnancy. As a result, it has led to women trying to self-abort their children. Women have used self-aborting using tactics such as using bleach, hangers, and consumed dried henna powder in hopes of terminating unwanted pregnancies. This endangers the women in underdeveloped countries and it has led to an increased mortality rate within females between the ages of 15-49.

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Personally, I believe that abortion is not the solution to curbing population growth. In terms of those who are aborting females, I believe that this is a tactic that is creating a new problem and masking the real problem at hand. The gender imbalance will cause new issues. These issues have already begun to surface, as several men in Asia are unable to find women of marrying age within their own regions[5]. Some countries in the Middle East have begun to resolve this issue by I think that this is a positive step in the direction of solving this issue. In terms of women self-aborting their children, I believe that educating them will completely resolve this issue. Organizations such as Women’s Education Project have taken efforts to educate women on contraceptive use and family planning. This organization has also taken the time to teach women different trades so that if they do have multiple children, they can work to financially support themselves. Both of these methods set forth good models for the rest of the world to follow. If this situation isn’t solved, then the rate of abortion will continue to rise. By educating women on contraceptive use it will negate the belief that contraceptives cause infertility. By continuing to send the message that gender balance is a positive thing,I believe that gender selectivity will become less of an issue. Taking these steps will decrease the number of abortions and it will begin to resolve the problem of excess abortions in Asia and Africa.

[1] http://www.charismanews.com/world/40883-unsafe-abortions-on-the-rise-across-africa

[2] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/06/21/gender-selection-abortion-crisis-in-asia-india-u-s.html

[3] http://www.indexmundi.com/india/total_fertility_rate.html

[4] http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964745

[5] http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20120528000069&cid=1103

[6] http://tvnewslies.org/tvnl/index.php/news/editorials/19646-asias-163-million-missing-girls.html

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