|Some females fall prey to violence before they are born, when expectant parents abort their unborn daughters, hoping for sons instead.|
Son preference affects women in many countries, particularly in Asia. Its consequences can be anything from fetal or female infanticide to neglect of the girl child over her brother in terms of such essential needs as nutrition, basic health care and education.
In China and India, some women choose to terminate their pregnancies when expecting daughters but carry their pregnancies to term when expecting sons.
According to reports from India, genetic testing for sex selection has become a booming business, especially in the country's northern regions. Indian gender-detection clinics drew protests from women's groups after the appearance of advertisements suggesting that it was better to spend $38 now to terminate a female fetus than $3,800 later on her dowry.
A study of amniocentesis procedures conducted in a large Bombay hospital found that 95.5 per cent of fetuses identified as female were aborted, compared with a far smaller percentage of male fetuses.
The problem of son preference is present in many other countries as well. Asked how many children he had fathered, the former United States boxing champion Muhammad Ali told an interviewer: "One boy and seven mistakes."
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