In China, a woman's death is being attributed to having multiple abortions.
Over a span of one year, the woman reportedly had four abortions because the fetuses were female, reports the South China Morning Post, citing the Jianghuai Morning News.
After giving birth to a girl four years ago, the husband reportedly demanded their next child be a boy.
China scrapped its one-child policy in recent years, and the couple decided to have a second child.
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When his wife became ill after terminating her pregnancies, he divorced her.
With the money she received as part of the divorce settlement, she was treated at a hospital for her illness, but later died.
The nature of her illness, and its alleged connection to her abortions, was not specified.
"The preference for sons ... has deep social and cultural roots in some East and South Asian societies, most notably South Korea, China and the northern and western states of India," explains the East-West Center, which was established by U.S. Congress in 1960.
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The center's mission is to promote "better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue."
In China, notes the center, the preference for sons is typified by the saying: “The birth of a boy is welcomed with shouts of joy and firecrackers, but when a girl is born, the neighbors say nothing.”
The center notes, "Over the years, son preference has resulted in unusually high death rates for female infants and girls. With the advent of modern technology, the identification and abortion of female fetuses has also contributed to an unusual preponderance of boys in some Asian populations."
The male bias has raised concerns that a shortage of women in these countries will make it difficult for men to find wives, and that large populations of single young men will lead to higher crime rates.
In response, "governments of China, India and South Korea have all made prenatal screening for sex identification illegal, and the penalties against doctors who perform this procedure have steadily increased."
The center also notes that with social and economic modernization, the tendency to have sex-specific abortions decreases.
In the case of the Chinese woman who had four abortions and later died, the sex of her aborted fetuses was discovered through X-rays. The scans were reportedly done by an unlicensed practitioner operating illegally.