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Sex-selective abortion--terminating a pregnancy based on gender--is a modern phenomenon. As the expense of sex-selection technology like ultrasound plummets, it is being used in a growing number of countries, almost universally to eliminate girls, and generally with the assistance of health care professionals. In her new book, Unnatural Selection (PublicAffairs, June 2011), Mara Hvistendahl, a Beijing-based correspondent for Science magazine, documents how this practice has severely altered the natural balance of boys and girls in increasingly many societies, including China, South Korea, Vietnam, India, and the Caucasus republics. Is the worst yet ahead? Is there hope for reversing this scourge? Join us for what promises to be an enlightening--and sobering--discussion with the author and AEI scholar Nicholas Eberstadt.
MARA HVISTENDAHL, Science
Question and Answer
Mara Hvistendahl is an award-winning writer and journalist specializing in the intersection of science, culture, and policy. A Beijing-based correspondent for Science magazine, she has also written for Harper's, Scientific American, Popular Science, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and other publications. Proficient in both Spanish and Chinese, she has spent half of the past decade in China, where she has reported on everything from archaeology to Beijing's space program. A former contributing editor at Seed magazine, correspondent for the Chronicle of Higher Education, and journalism professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Ms. Hvistendahl sits on the advisory board of Round Earth Media, an organization founded to promote international journalism. Her writing won an Education Writers Association award and was nominated for the Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award. Her first book is Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men (PublicAffairs, June 2011).
Nicholas Eberstadt is the Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at AEI and a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research. He serves as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council and of the visiting committee for the Harvard School of Public Health. He was appointed commissioner to the Key National Indicators Commission in 2010. Mr. Eberstadt writes extensively about demography, development, and international security. He has published hundreds of studies and articles in scholarly and popular journals, including Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, the New York Review of Books, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He is the author or editor of about twenty books and monographs, including Poverty in China (International Development Institute, 1979), Foreign Aid and American Purpose (AEI Press, 1989), The Tyranny of Numbers (AEI Press, 1995), The End of North Korea (AEI Press, 1999), Europe's Coming Demographic Challenge (AEI Press, 2007, with Hans Groth), and Russia's Peacetime Demographic Crisis (National Bureau of Asian Research, 2010). Mr. Eberstadt consults frequently for various branches of the US government and has served on several congressionally appointed committees and commissions. He has also testified as an invited expert before the Senate and the House of Representatives on issues ranging from aid for Africa to population control in China and the North Korean nuclear drama.
Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. She writes frequently on national security matters with a focus on domestic politics in the Middle East and South Asia, terrorism, and weapons proliferation. At AEI, she developed a conference series on rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, directed a project on democracy in the Arab world, and designed a project tracking global business in Iran. Ms. Pletka testified several times before the Senate on confronting Iran's threat and terrorist activities in the Middle East. She is currently leading a project on the impact of a nuclear Iran while updating the AEI report "Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan." Ms. Pletka served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
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