Year of the dragon prompts Taiwan debate about gender scans
Summary of story from The Independent, January 10, 2012
Taiwan’s birthrate dropped to the world’s lowest in 2011.
The government has blamed superstition as it seems many people were waiting for the year of the dragon, which starts next week and is considered a particularly auspicious period to be born in.
The country also has a gender-imbalance second only to China. The Taiwanese government estimates that around 3,000 female babies are ‘missing’ each year. Gender-selective abortion is believed to be responsible for many of these missing girls.
In 2000 a government directive banned gender screening of foetuses unless there were concerns for genetic disorders relating to the X chromosome. This directive, however, seems to have been largely ignored despite a re-emphasis in January 2011.
A number of reports about the policy have emerged since the end of 2011, and doctors across Taiwan are now refusing requests for gender scans.
This will mean that Taiwanese women giving birth in the year of the dragon will need to travel abroad for a scan or, for some, risk the possibility of having an unwanted girl.
The policy has enraged many of those pregnant women who would not mind either a male or a female baby because it is preventing them from making advanced plans based on the sex of their coming child, such as what colour to paint bedrooms or what style of baby clothes to buy.
WVoN Comment: Gender scans can be an extremely divisive service and not 100% reliable. Banning them only goes a small way to solve the problems of gender imbalance. The real issue is how society views women. I would be really interested to know what policies the Taiwanese government are putting into place to raise the profile of women in their country.