Selective Abortion in Armenia: Ministry of Health says law needed -
By Gayane Mkrtchyan
The Ministry of Health is preparing a project prohibiting sex selective abortion soon to be introduced to the government, considering the fact that in the recent years sex selective abortion has become a common practice.
The head of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Healthcare, Maternity and Childhood Affairs Ara Babloyan held a workshop on the topic “Sex selective abortion occurrences and causes in Armenia” where he mentions that the problem must be treated on a legislative level.
Upon the discussed project, it is suggested not to inform the parents about the child’s sex before the fetus is thirty weeks old. The project is not yet put to circulation, however after the discussions it will be sent to the government.
A mother of two daughters and one son, 35-year-old Marine Sargsyan from Echmiadzin says that before giving birth to her son she did a sex selective abortion three times, because every time the fetus was a girl.
“I already had two daughters, and my husband and I wanted a son very much, but every time after the ultrasound checkup we found out it was a girl again. Every time I felt horrible, had physical pains . . . but we also had a great desire to have a son,” Sargsyan tells ArmeniaNow.
The executive representative of the Armenian office of the UN Population Fund, Garik Hayrapetyan mentions that investigation realized by the UN Population Fund confirms that there are occurrences of sex selective abortions in Armenia during the recent years. A part of Armenian families terminate the pregnancy in case of a baby girl, which has resulted in a shift of proportions, forming a proportion of 114 boys and 100 girls in 2012. At the same time, 102-106 boys and 100 girls is considered a normal proportion.
The “Sex selective abortion occurrences and causes in Armenia” investigation was realized from June 2012 to January 2013.
“There are three major causes of abortion in Armenia: the Armenian public is patriarchal by nature, thus baby boys are preferred to baby girls, future parents find out the child’s sex in advance and they refrain from baby girls, as well as some couples want to have few children,” says Hayrapetyan.
According to him, the proportion of newborn babies in other provinces of Armenia varies: in Syunik, for instance, it is on a moderate level, in Gegharkunik – there is high preference of male babies nowadays.
Gayane Avagyan, head of the Armenian Health Ministry's Maternal and Reproductive Health Department, mentions that “we cannot blame anyone who wants to have a male child, but it shouldn’t be realized by means of getting rid of a healthy girl.”