ABSTRACT. The women are still facing many challenges while exercising their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights despite the series of concerted efforts undertaken by the international community within the last half a century to ensure better protection and promotion of women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms. Of particular concern is the use of women’s human rights discourse to satisfy the patriarchal aspirations of the society. As known, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) or the secondary sex ratio represents the number of registered male births divided by the number of registered female births and is usually within the range of 105–106 boys to 100 girls with few geographical and temporal variations observed across the world. The analysis of the statistical data on SRB in Azerbaijani population shows that the ratio of male to female population had been within the normal range up until early 1990s. The skewed SRB started to be observed thereafter with occasionally as high deviations as 118 men to 100 women and quite minor decline in the recent years. The findings of the research regarding this phenomenon indicate that although son preference had constituted an inalienable component of the whole system of patriarchal values nurtured in the mindsets of the population throughout the centuries given the series of socio-cultural and economic considerations, the phenomenon began to impact the sex ratios at birth following the decline of fertility rates and the advent of modern technologies enabling prenatal determination of sex. Yet, so far the related studies have paid little attention to the construction of the legal framework behind the phenomenon. This article aims at filling this gap by providing an in-depth analysis of the rationale and mechanisms behind the existing legal and policy framework on abortions and explores the linkages between these mechanisms and the increasing number of abortions performed to ensure the birth of a son child. pp. 93–109

Keywords: sex selection; fetus; abortion laws; reproductive rights; gender equality; son preference

How to cite: Aliyeva, Bahija A. (2015), "The Boomerang Effect of Liberal Abortion Laws in Patriarchal Societies: The Case of Gender Biased Sex-Selection in the Republic of Azerbaijan," Journal of Research in Gender Studies 5(1): 93–109.

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Department of Psychology and Social Sciences,
Baku State University, Azerbaijan

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