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Int J Public Health. 2013 Jun;58(3):395-400. doi: 10.1007/s00038-012-0421-6. Epub 2012 Oct 20.

Are sex-selective abortions a characteristic of every poor region? Evidence from Brazil.

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1
Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. alexdiasporto@usp.br

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Introduction of ultrasound equipment has been associated with higher sex ratio (number of male live births divided by female live births) for some developing countries. So far, studies have solely focused in regions with a cultural preference for males, which may introduce misleading conclusions about the association between poverty and sex-selective abortions.

METHODS:

We analyzed poor Brazilian municipalities that either (a) did not have ultrasound equipment, or (b) had the introduction of ultrasound equipment for the first time. Propensity score matching was performed, resulting in 155 pairs of comparable municipalities.

RESULTS:

We found a sex ratio of 1.039 for municipalities that had the introduction of ultrasound equipment and of 1.047 for those that did not. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant. The use of the propensity score matching approach was successful in reducing bias.

CONCLUSIONS:

Concerns about an association between local poverty and sex-selective abortions should not be a barrier against access to maternal technology. While sex-selective abortions are an important concern for some developing countries, they are not a specific characteristic of poverty.

PMID:
23086192
DOI:
10.1007/s00038-012-0421-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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