People still actively request to determine the gender of the future child in advance during first trimester of the pregnancy in the municipalities inhabited by ethnic Azerbaijani people. 31-years-old Sakina Alieva from Marneuli has 5-years-old boy. Before having the boy she got two abortions because she was expecting girls. Sakina said she decided to artificially stop pregnancy under pressure of her husband:

“When I learned I was pregnant, I was very happy. The husband warned unless we had first child a boy, he would divorce me. When we learned that it was a girl, he demanded me to do abortion. I refused and he really took me to my father’s family and left me there. The parents told me they would not take care of me and my future child if I divorce my husband. I was compelled to get abortion.”

Mother of three, 35-years-old Sevda Mamedova, lives in Tbilisi. She said she got three abortions to have a boy after two daughters. “It was very important for my husband to have a son. In the third pregnancy, when we were told during the ultrasound examination that it was a girl, the doctor said the embryo was already big and abortion could create problems for me. Despite that, under pressure by my husband, his parents and relatives I got abortion. The relatives, particularly the women, used to call me “childless” that was psychological oppression on me.”

The Georgian legislation does not prohibit the abortion. In accordance to the Law of Georgia about Healthcare, in case of desire, a pregnant woman has right to know the gender of the future child and get surgical abortion until the term of pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks (after 12 weeks the abortion shall be allowed only according to medical conditions). Many women artificially stop pregnancy because of the embryo’s gender.

According to the UNFPA and World Bank survey “Gender-Biased Sex Selection in Georgia: Context, Evidence and Implications,” from 1990s to 2010, 25 000 girls “disappeared” in Georgia as a result of selective abortion.

The research states that Georgian National Assembly of Reproductive Health had confirmed the data about relevance between different-gender births and noted that neither medical society nor general population perceive the sex-selective abortions as significant problem.

The research confirmed that in 2008-2012, the sex ratio at birth was about 100 females per 112 males, while natural sex ratio is 100 females per 105 males.

Doctor at Marneuli Hospital, gynecologist Paata Kholuashvili said recently the number of selective abortions has reduced. “We usually explain to the women that selective abortion is inadmissible.”

Chairperson of the Georgian Azerbaijani Women Association, Gultakin Hajieva said it is still in high demand to determine the future child’s gender in-advance and many women get sex-selection abortion.

“We still live in the patriarchal society. Many people still believe that the son is the most important heir of the family as he shall take care of old parents. The daughter will get married and part with her parents. Now girls get high education too, work and assist parents. It is not justified to get selection abortion. If the state creates conditions for the girls to get good education, many parents will realize that the daughter is as valuable child as their son and the situation will improve.”

According to the data of the National Statistic Agency, 56,569 children were born in Georgia in 2016; among them 28,887 boys and 27,682 girls.

Nurana Mammad

The article was prepared in the frame of the project implemented by Human Rights House Tbilisi with financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). HRHT bears sole responsibility for the content of the article. The article does not necessarily reflect the views of the donors.