You can't be "pro-choice except..."
In many Asian countries the ratio of male to female population is higher than in the West: as high as 1.07 in China and India, and even higher in Pakistan. A number of authors (most notably Amartya Sen) have suggested that this imbalance reflects excess female mortality and have argued that as many as 100 million women are "missing." This paper proposes an explanation for some of the observed overrepresentation of men: the hepatitis B virus. I present new evidence, consistent with an existing scientific literature, that carriers of the hepatitis B virus have offspring sex ratios around 1.50 boys for each girl. This evidence includes both cross-country analyses and a natural experiment based on recent vaccination campaigns. Hepatitis B is common in many Asian countries, especially China, where some 10–15 percent of the population is infected. Using data on prevalence of the virus by country and estimates of the effect of hepatitis on the sex ratio, I argue that hepatitis B can account for about 45 percent of the "missing women": around 75 percent in China, between 20 and 50 percent in Egypt and western Asia, and under 20 percent in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
Sure you can. That's the entire point of divorcing 'legality' from 'personal belief and societal preference.'
No, you really can't. "Pro-choice", whatever the issue one is considering, never means that you must agree with all possible choices. I'm for free speech, but that doesn't mean I agree with all possible things that could be said.
You can think that to decide based on gender is wrong, or a bad idea. That's different from thinking that the practice should be banned; which is all that's relevant. The term "pro-choice" is politico-speak for your view on what should be legal, not what you think is moral.
Earlier work (Oster, 2005) has argued, based on existing medical literature and analysis of cross country data and vaccination programs, that parents who are carriers of hepatitis B have a higher offspring sex ratio (more boys) than non-carrier parents. Further, since a number of Asian countries, China in particular, have high hepatitis B carrier rates, Oster(2005) suggested that hepatitis B could explain a large share – approximately 50% – of Asia’s “missing women”.
Subsequent work has questioned this conclusion. Most notably, Lin and Luoh (2008) use data from a large cohort of births in Taiwan and and only a very tiny effect of maternal hepatitis carrier status on offspring sex ratio. Although this work is quite conclusive for the case of mothers, it leaves open the possibility that paternal carrier status is driving higher sex offspring sex ratios. To test this, we collected data on the offspring gender for a cohort of 67,000 people in China who are being observed in a prospective cohort study of liver cancer; approximately 15% of these individuals are hepatitis B carriers. In this sample, we find no effect of either maternal or paternal hepatitis B carrier status on offspring sex. Carrier parents are no more likely to have male children than non-carrier parents. This finding leads us to conclude that hepatitis B cannot explain skewed sex ratios in China.
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