Modern-Day Eugenics Through Abortion, Neglect & Abandonment

Eugenics, from the Greek for "good birth," was a program in the early twentieth century that sought to improve the human race by utilizing marriage laws and forced sterilizations to ensure that only people with admirable traits had children. After Nazi Germany took the concept of eugenics to its logical ends, official eugenics programs fell into disrepute. But forced sterilizations continued in the United States at least until the 1970s, and California was still sterilizing prisoners until the 1990s.

Modern-day eugenics occurs when some human beings are deemed "unfit" to live. This is seen in sex-selective abortions and the neglect or abandonment of baby girls in countries like India, China, and parts of Eastern Europe. This is also seen in the prevalence of elective abortion of children with genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

Sex Selection

The biologically normal sex ratio is 104-106 males born / 100 females born. This ratio remains remarkably consistent when no other factors are in play. Hence, when birth ratios of 109 or more males per 100 females are observed, they can reliably be attributed to purposeful acts. For naturally conceived children, this usually consists of prenatal screening followed by sex-selective abortion; for children conceived through IVF, it usually involves using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to determine the sex of the embryos and then choosing only embryos of the desired sex for implantation.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that there are 117 million women "missing" in Asia and Eastern Europe due to sex-selective abortion or child neglect. This table shows the countries with skewed sex ratios.1


Males per 100 Females



















South Korea




More Pertinent Statistics


• Over the past ten years, 2.4 million girls under age 5 died due to neglect or abandonment. (This doesn't include the girls killed through sex-selective abortion.)

• Among children under 5 years old, the mortality rate for girls is higher than that for boys in 29 of 35 Indian states.

• There are 63 million more boys than girls in India.2


• Chinese census data started showing skewed sex ratios in the 1980s.

• China is the largest worldwide contributor to the skewed sex ratios.

• In some provinces, the ratios are above 125 boys per 100 girls.3

Former Soviet-bloc countries Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia:

• In 2000, the sex ratio in Armenia jumped to 120 boys for every 100 girls, though it has declined since.

• Also in Armenia, if the first child is a daughter, the sex ratio for the second child is 156 boys for every 100 girls.

• In 2003, the sex ratio in Azerbaijan was 118 boys for every 100 girls, but it has since been declining.

• In 1999, the sex ratio in Georgia was 119 boys for every 100 girls, but it also shows signs of declining.

• Prior to 1990, Georgia had one of the highest overall abortion rates in the world, with its highest frequency in the 1970s at 1.1 abortions per live birth.4

The United States:

• Overall, among couples who use IVF and PGD for sex-selection purposes, there is no significant difference in preference for one sex over the other such as would disrupt the normal sex ratio.

—Among couples of Western origin, there is a slight preference for females.

—Among couples of Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern origin, there is a preference for males.5

• According to the 2000 census, third births in families from China, India, and Korea that already had two daughters showed a sex ratio of 151 boys per 100 girls.6


• The province of Western Australia allows women undergoing IVF to select female embryos for implantation to lower the risk of having a child with autism, which is thought to disproportionately affect males.7

Genetic Diseases

The most common chromosomal disease is Down syndrome, in which there are three copies of chromosome 21.

United States:

• Between 1979 and 2003, babies born with Down syndrome increased by 30%.8

• Currently, one in 700 babies born has Down syndrome.

• The average abortion rate following prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is 67%, with annual rates ranging from 61% to 90%.9

Great Britain:

• In England and Wales, 90% of women who had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome aborted their babies.10

• In Scotland, a study of 26,262 pregnant women who had prenatal screening done revealed the following:

—85.2% of trisomy pregnancies (which includes Down syndrome) were aborted.

—65.4% of pregnancies with some other chromosomal abnormality were aborted.

—1.9% of pregnancies that did not show any chromosomal abnormalities were aborted.11

has an M.S. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.A. in bioethics from Trinity International University. She resides in Dallas and currently works as a freelance science writer and educator.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #46, Fall 2018 Copyright © 2019 Salvo |