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Sex-Selective Abortion in Armenia ‘Surprisingly’ Most Practiced by Highly Educated Women: Study

Among the 900,000 women of reproductive age in Armenia, 0.8% have had a sex-selective abortion in the last 5 years. This means that the country loses approximately 1,400 potential future mothers, since boys are selected over girls, according to the results of a new survey by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Armenia) titled “Prevalence and Reasons of Sex-Selective Abortions in Armenia,” which were presented to journalists today by Director of the Institute of Perinatology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology, RA Ministry of Health’s Chief Obstetrician and Gynecologist Razmik Abrahamyan and UNFPA Armenia Assistant Representative Garik Hayrapetyan.

The survey was based on quantitative research conducted in 2,830 households between Jul. 15 and Aug. 15, 2011, as well as on findings from qualitative studies on the issue.

“The highest indicator showed that sex-selective abortion is strangely opted by highly educated women who have a [monthly] salary of more than 100,000 drams [approx. $262 USD]. These are things that are not yet possible to explain through this study. Next year, we’ll try to carry out joint research with our colleagues and try to understand the secrets uncovered by this study. It was a discovery for me — I thought that highly educated women would less likely opt for this [sex-selective abortion],” said Hayrapetyan.

Razmik Abrahamyan, in turn, noted that in the last two to three years, there have been 7,000–7,500 abortions carried out in Armenia overall. Regardless of whether they are sex-selective or not, legal abortions in Armenia require payment.

“In those countries where abortion is prohibited, there are many criminal abortions. Just in Italy, a special study was conducted that [found] planes depart to France three times more often on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays than on other days because women go to France or another country on their days off to have an abortion,” he said.