Infanticide and Sex Ratio at Birth in Contemporary Italy

Consuelo Braglia, Luciano Nicolini


Despite the doubts on the reliability of the infanticide data available for Italy, it can be shown that the phenomenon continues to decrease. Nowadays, cases of infanticide can be interpreted as the consequence of lack of information on the possibility to terminate pregnancy legally. Nevertheless, given their low incidence, it cannot be ruled out that they may also be largely attributed to the rejection of infants, particularly those with serious diseases.  These observations can be supplemented with others related to the analysis conducted on sex ratio at birth, in order to highlight any anomalies in that relationship. Genetic, and more generally, biological factors have certainly had (and still have) an important influence in determining the changes. However, in the light of what has emerged from the data, the practice of infanticide cannot be completely ruled out when seeking an explanation for the lower than expected number of females born in specific periods.d


infanticide; sex ratio at birth; Italy; 20th century; abortion

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