Abortion curb restores birth sex ratio in Taiwan

Taiwanese health authorities said Tuesday that tougher checks on illegal gender-selective abortions prevented nearly 1,000 terminations of female foetuses last year.

Taiwan's moved to tighten curbs on the illegal abortions last year, warning that doctors found guilty of the practice could have their licenses revoked.

"The strict measures have paid off," Lee Tsui-feng, an official at the Bureau of the Health Promotion, told AFP.

Government figures showed that 108 males babies were born for every 100 female babies in 2011, down from 109 to 100 in 2010. The normal at birth globally is 104-106 males to every 100 females.

"That's the same as 993 female foetuses saved last year," Lee said.

Even though sex-selective abortions have never been legal in Taiwan, the practice is believed to have become common, due to a traditional preferences for .

Despite last year's progress, Lee said it may take another four or five years to weed out the illegal practice entirely.

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