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Vital Signs: Girl baby gone

Abortion

Sex-selection in the Caucasus. A new study by Marc Michael of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus reveals that gender imbalance in the Caucasus is second highest in the world after China. On average, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls, but in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia the ratio is skewed towards males 115 to 100. The Economist reports two studies, including Michael’s, that show the distortion grows as the family has more children. In Armenia, there are 138 boys for every 100 girls among the first born. If the first born is a girl, 61 percent of second born are boys. The Economist attributes the rise to improved technology after the fall of the Soviet Union, rather than a change of worldview. In the post-Soviet era, ultrasound machines became more common, leading to more sex-selected abortions. For American liberals, the intellectual conflict asks whether we can have both widespread, guilt-free abortions and female liberation. 

Irish hospitals begin offering abortions. The Mater Hospital in Dublin announced Wednesday it will be the first in Ireland to offer abortions after the predominately Catholic nation passed its first pro-abortion law in July, Yahoo News reported. Ireland’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill legalized abortion in cases where the woman’s life is at risk and the Mater Hospital is the first of the 25 hospitals named in the legislation to comply. Another hospital, St. Vincent University Hospital in Dublin, was labeled an “appropriate institution” for abortions. 

Hyde Amendment turns 37. Monday marked the 37th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds being used for abortion, with the exception of incest and rape. But the fight to repeal it has intensified. Kate Stewart with Advocates for Youth told The Washington Times that 37 years is long enough. Advocates for Youth is one of 20 organizations with All Against All campaigning against the Hyde Amendment. Though these organizations have their work cut out for them, they may find a loophole in the new health law: According to the Times, 71,000 to 111,500 more abortions could be performed each year with federal funding under Obamacare. 

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Wendy Davis running for governor. Two anonymous Democrats said Thursday that Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis is planning to run for governor. Davis is set to formally announce her campaign next week. The odds are against her, considering a Democrat hasn’t won a governor’s election in Texas in over 20 years. Davis gained national fame after her 13-hour filibuster didn’t stop the state’s new 20-week abortion ban from becoming law. No other Democrat has expressed interest in running for governor in Texas. Experts say Davis would need to raise $40 million to mount a serious campaign. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner, has already raised more than $20 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alissa Robertson
Alissa Robertson

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