Two Lies from Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps
National Review Celebrates Martin Luther King Day!

Gulp...

This is really depressing:

Educated Guesswork: Abortions for sex selection in India : The Lancet has a new article (unfortunately blocked by pay wall so I'm working from the summaries) about the question of missing women in India:

Researchers based in Canada and India looked through data from a national survey, conducted among 1.1 million households in 1998, and at information about 133,738 births that took place in 1997. They found that in cases where the preceding child was a girl, the gender ratio for a second birth was just 759 girls to 1,000 boys.

And when the two previous children were girls, this ratio fell even further, to 719 girls to 1,000 boys. On the other hand, when the preceding child or children were male, the gender ratio among successive births was about the same. Based on the natural sex ratio in other countries, around 13.6-13.8 million girls should have been born in India in 1997 -- but the actual number was 13.1 million.

The implication, of course, is that women are using ultrasound for sex determination followed by selective abortion. This data is pretty suggestive, particularly as the effect seems to get stronger after two previous female children, which is the opposite of what you would expect if biased birth ratios were the result of some systematic bias in the women's physiology, like, say Emily Oster's hepatitis theory. The other piece of suggestive evidence is the fact that the effect is stronger from educated women, who presumably have more access to ultrasound and abortions.

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