Azerbaijan Considers Banning Prenatal Boy or Girl Inquiries
If Azerbaijani parents want to know the gender of their baby, they will have to wait for the baby to be born. The government could be about to land a ban on prenatal gender detection as a way to prevent sex-selective abortions.
In Azerbaijan and the rest of the macho, Caucasus vicinity, when parents ask an obstetrician if it's a boy or a girl, the response often determines will there be a child or not. The traditional preference for male children and increased access to medical technology are causing an alarming rate of discriminative abortion of female fetuses.
“Before ultrasounds, parents and grandparents did not know the sex of the baby before birth and were accepting any babies as a gift from the God,” Khady Rajabli, head of the Azerbaijani parliamentary committee for social policies, told the Kavkazsky Uzel news site. “Now that people are better informed, the ultrasound often is the cause of selective abortion practices.”
The practice is reflected in the demography of the country. The sex ratio at birth is 112 boys to 100 girls. Along with neighboring Armenia and Georgia, Azerbaijan is among the world’s most gender imbalanced countries, according to international data.
Apart from the moral argument against what is often called gendricide, specialists warn that, at this rate, Azerbaijani men may find it harder and harder to find female partners within Azerbaijani itself. The draft law, broadly supported and scheduled for parliamentary review in the fall, is expected to help change that situation by making responding to the question "Is it a boy or a girl?" illegal.