Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)


● Tackling Gender-Selective Abortions in South-East Asia;

First, it is important to clarify that it is ‘sex-selective’ abortion that is in question, not abortion in general. The two issues should not be confused. Abortion is a basic right, a right to bodily integrity that all non-slave men take for granted: a right not to have one’s body invaded against one’s will. However, while there is a right not to have a child – not to be pregnant, not to give birth, and not to be a parent – this right does not extend to being able to choose the type of child one has. Since the early 1980s, the use of sex-selective abortion increased in many Asian contexts. Indeed, by 1997, sex-selective abortion was banned in India. The use of prenatal diagnosis as a means to find out the sex of the unborn child was also reported from many Asian countries in the late 1980s. Sex determination by NCS and amniocentesis is still common in South Korea, although many parents continue to choose the sex of their child rather than aborting it. Chinese authorities declared sex-selective abortion illegal in 1980 and still maintain the ban. Likewise, Gender Selective Abortion in Taiwan is allowed and many doctors openly state that sex determination is no longer illegal and can be done. In South Korea, an official from the Ministry of Health has estimated that the country may be losing 200,000 babies each year due to sex-selective abortion. Harmful effects of sex-selective abortion include higher rates of infertility, miscarriage, and maternal deaths. In the United States, China and India, there is evidence of reduced mental ability, premature birth, low birth weight, congenital anomalies, and a lower literacy rate in girls compared with boys.

● Addressing Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, reflecting deep-rooted inequality between the sexes. Since FGM is almost always carried out on minors, it is also a violation of the rights of children. FGM is a persistent form of gender-based violence, occurring in all regions of the world and resulting in severe, lasting physical and psychological harm.

1. In some cases, several female genital mutilation procedures may be performed on a young girl, each time in an effort to “tidy” or “improve” her sexual organ.

2. With increasing global demand for surgical procedures, the global supply of FGM has increased significantly.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 200 million women and girls in 30 countries worldwide have undergone FGM and countless others are at risk. Nearly 12 million girls alive today have undergone FGM. The harmful practice is most prevalent in Africa and the Middle East, and is also practiced in some immigrant communities in Europe and the Americas.

Useful sources:

● Tackling Gender-Selective Abortions in South-East Asia;

● Addressing Female Genital Mutilation;jsessionid=07C0BE3851C88A4EBA633BD6A5FA71F0?sequence=1

The chairs: