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    Gender-biased sex selection

    Lena Luyckfasseel IPPF European Network, Brussels, Belgium - lluyckfasseel@ippfen.org

    Sex selection can take place before a pregnancy is established, during pregnancy through prenatal sex detection and selective abortion or following birth through infanticide or child neglect. Nevertheless, the discussion seems to focus especially on abortion. Sex selection is sometimes used for family balancing purposes but far more typically occurs because of a systematic preference for boys. Practised on a large scale it can result in skewed sex ratios at country-level. The root causes of gender-biased sex selection are situated in persistent gender inequality leading to son preference. Other conditions that need to be present for prenatal sex selection are low fertility (people choosing smaller sized families) and the availability of the technology. In 2011 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in their resolution on "Prenatal Sex Selection" stated that there is "strong evidence that prenatal sex selection is not limited to Asia [...] and has reached worrying proportions in Albania, Armenia and Azerbaijan". This has put gender-biased sex selection firmly on the European agenda. It is important to frame the discussion on gender-biased sex selection in such a way that it does not impede women's access to safe abortion services. Following a short introduction to the topic a diverse panel will explore the following questions: What does gender-biased sex selection mean for us? How do we respond to gender-biased sex selection; towards individuals, practitioners, decision makers and anti-choice?