Abortions of Girls Cause Male Surplus in Montenegro


News
18 Sep 14

Abortions of Girls Cause Male Surplus in Montenegro

Montenegrin health authorities have expressed grave concern after the latest statistics showed a significant imbalance between the number of newborn male and female babies.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Data from Montenegro’s Ministry of Health say some 100 girls are born for every 110 boys in Montenegro – while the usual world ratio is 100 to 102-104.

The imbalance is not attributed to mother nature – but to the popularity of gender-selective abortion in a country that still prizes male children over girls.

On Tuesday, the director of the national Center for Medical Genetics and Immunology, Olivera Miljanovic, warned that prenatal sex selection has been a growing trend in Montenegro for the last 15 years.

“Now, from 500 to 700 euros, numerous websites offer early gender determination services. This is the ‘latest hit’ in modern medicine, a non-invasive method of determining the sex of the child from the mother’s blood,” Miljanic told a press conference.

Gender-selective abortion has been illegal in Montenegro since 2009 and the abuse of pre-natal determination of the sex of an unborn child is treated as a criminal offence.

But the authorithies say they can do little to stop women from aborting baby girls while the dominant culture still places such a premium on having male heirs.

The chair of the Parliamentary Commission for Gender Equality, Nada Drobnjak, said that the state and society had to to raise people’s awareness of the problem.

In March, the Council of Europe called on Montenegro to educate health professionals and adopt strict guidelines in order to prevent selective abortions.

Last year, the UN Population Fund ranked Montenegro among the countries with the largest imbalance between male and female births, alongside India, Albania, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

While some Montenegrin officials firstly denied that sex-selective abortion was widespread, the government has now ordered a task force to consider the problem.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)