Taiwan also Has a High Rate of Boys to Girls
By Kevin Stoda, Matsu Islands, Taiwan
Earlier this month, I wrote an article on ONLIES, i.e. on single child’s households, their lives (especially social lives) and their attainments in career, in school, etc. The article was entitled A NEW WORLD OF ONLIES
and I followed it up by looking at the issues created by single-child policy in China over the past 3 decades. This blog contained several reports on the policy from TIME magazine, including one entitled HOW CHINA PRUNED ITS FAMILY TREE.
Yesterday, when I arrived in Taiwan, I find that the issues here are similar to China, Vietnam and India in terms of too many boys versus girls being born in this land of 23 million peoples. A front page story in the TAIPEI TIMES was on the issues of hospitals conniving with parents to abort more females than males. This Republic of China (Taiwan) doesn’t even officially have a one child policy—and the government is so concerned with the conniving of hospitals and parent that they will likely be taken to court or penalized for their contribution to the imbalance in society’s gender make-up.
See the article from the TAIPEI TIMES here. It is entitled “DOH to Investigate Gender Selection of Newborn Babies”.:
The author of the piece, Shelly Huang, notes, “The nation’s relatively high average of 1.11 boys born for every girl puts Taiwan at No. 9 behind countries such as China, India and Vietnam that traditionally value male children more than female children, statistics by the department’s Bureau of Health Promotion showed.”
Huan continued, “While most mothers learn the gender of their baby by looking at an ultrasound about 19 or 20 weeks into their pregnancy, those who are considering aborting female infants can learn the sex of the baby as early as six to eight weeks into the pregnancy by sending blood samples to private testing facilities.”
“So far, we have targeted about 20 medical institutions and 50 doctors with abnormal [baby sex] ratios for our investigation,” stated Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti.
The government appears to be serious in making the hospitals and doctors pay fines, but I believe the fines, which run only between NT$50,000 and $250,000 are not high enough to detour some medical facilities. Moreover, some private medical companies are operating in “gray-zones”, which may be out of reach of the law “because examination of fetal DNA for genetic abnormalities does not go against accepted norms”.
For those wishing to read more on Taiwan and this issue, here is a more scientific article on the history of the gender and birth issue in Taiwan.
Here is an article on the relationship between religion and abortion (and contraception) tendencies in Taiwan.