The Unborn Daughters of Armenia

“The girl’s name would be Naneh. A sweet name for a girl,” Armineh Gabrielyan says. The girl, who was never born. Armineh was forced to make an abortion.
“I still remember my girl’s every movement, I remember her every heartbeat, her – inside me. I still love her” she says (Armineh Gabrielyan’s name has been changed to protect her privacy).
Mane, Ani, Elen, Lilit, Narine, Astghik, Mary… these are all popular Armenian female names. Names of daughters, who were never born.
Armineh was 22, when she graduated from university and got married.
‘’After a month, I learnt that I’m pregnant’’, Armineh says. “When my husband and his family learnt that it was going to be a girl, they made me kill my baby.”
Armineh cannot have babies anymore, because of the abortion. Now in her thirties, Armeneh’s eyes get wet and hands tremble as she tells the story.
According to Armenia’s National Statistics Service (NSS) the number of abortions varied between 12 to 14 thousands from 2008-2010. While there is no official data on how many of the aborted children are female, latest data released by Karine Kuyumjyan, Head of Census and Demography Division at NSS, 43 thousand 447 children where born in 2011, of which more than 23 thousand 160 were boys, while the number of girls was a 20 thousand 487.
The experts warn, that such a difference in number accounts for female abortions.
“Traditionally, Armenians have the expectation, that the first child of the family must be a boy,” cultural anthropologist Ani Asatryan says.”Boys were considered the “labor force”, while girls were a liability, as the family had to provide dowry to get her married,” she goes on to explain.
According to the anthropologist, this trend is widespread in patriarchal societies, where the head of the family is the father. It is widely believed, that the male is the one to continue the generation.
As technology to to detect baby’s gender becomes more accessible, the stereotypes prevalent in the society turn deadly for the female fetuses, causing alarm among human rights organizations, highlighting a deeper trend of discrimination against women in the society.
“The very moment when people ask whether it is a girl or a boy, discrimination and violence starts,” Anna Nikoghosyan, the representative of the non-governmental organization “Society Without Violence” told us during a protest action they staged on December 3, 2011 to protest discrimination in the Armenian society.
“I wasn’t born, because I was a girl,” one of the posters held by protesters said. ”I want to live without fear!” another one ran.
“RA Law on Ensuring Equal Rights for Women and Men” has been introduced in the Armenian National Assembly last month.
The author of the bill Filaret Berikyan told the journalists in a press conference on January 25th, the it is necessary to define concrete measures against discrimination, as defined by the Armenian constitution and international agreements.
Armenia has ratified the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the Republic of Armenia entered into force in 1981.
A victim of tradition and discrimination, Armineh voices her discontent. “I lived with my baby for 3 months. I cherished the thought how I will raise her, take her to school, to a dance studio… Never do that [abortion]. Never! You will always regret it. A baby is a gift, no matter girl or boy.”

Written as part of the training program in “Youth in the 21st Century Debating and Producing Media-Armenia 2012” camp by Mary Sargsyan, Mariam Mkrtchyan, Ofa Tovmasyan, Mary Zohrabyan, Lala Artsruni

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. There’s also a video made based on this story, again by the same group.

  2. I am going to kill Armine’s family, and I will have to kill Armine too 🙁
    YOU HAVE KILLED AN ARmenian, you have murdered one of my own people, you have insulted the ARmenian race and nation, you will have to die for this…an eye-for-an-eye
    you have no idea how angry I am at this moment writing this comment
    I can’t even begin to express in words my anger and violent temper
    there is a RAGE inside of me that wants to explode all over my homeland
    my ppl are a stupid dumbfounded and unintelligent
    my ppl are ANUXEX (brainless) himarner (fools) who don’t know what they doing and have no guidance in their lives. all this time I am under impression…Hayer@ xelaci mardiq en, Hayer@ hzor en, Hayer@ charpik en, Hayer@ ayspes en, Hayer aynpes en
    as the last few years are passing, you my ARyan-KAVKASyan HAY ppl are slowly but surely proving to me and rest of the world….ARmenians are stupid brainless idiots who don’t know how to live and operate themselves accordingly and properly
    I don’t give 2 shits about abortion in other countries or lands or in other races, but killing the ARyan-KAVKASyan HAY race is a severe hanus crime in my book, there can be no worst crime to us ARmenians than that of aborting one of our precious & priceless children whether at conception or after 3months, its all the same to me….life is life inside of an ARmenian girl. only exception I would ever be ok with aborting is if conception was result from RAPE (another hanus crime)
    as for this line…
    >>Traditionally, ARmenians have the expectation, that the first child of the family must be a boy
    THIS IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT LINE I’VE EVER HEARD ANYONE SAY REGARDING OUR TRADITIONS. how the hell does one expect that the 1st child would be male (arakan)??? what? we have control over what sex the 1st child will be? ay anuxex himarner, derr qnac lakot mardiq eq duq ha, ay anxelqner !!!!
    vaaay arrajin yerexan arakan ch’yexav, dra hamar petq hanenq
    ay ara vor de aydpes indz arrjevic aseq, vay yes QEZ piti hanem ays ashxarhic, ay pchacac anuxex debil himar !!!!
    abort ha??? ay ara I will ABORT you into outer space into a million pieces
    I’m going to cry now, you have broken my Hay heart, my Hay soul, you have broken me…I don’t know how to receive any of you anymore :*(
    I would like to support this NGO
    “Society Without Violence” told us during a protest action they staged on December 3, 2011 to protest discrimination in the Armenian society.
    Nothing would please me more than to STOP hate&discrimination within out society and against our azg. direct your hate&discrimination towards our enemies both internal&external. however, its very clear&obvious to me now that we as a ppl/nation are self-sabotaging/destructive to each other…..very sad and pathetic…..wake up my ppl, zartunaceq ev dzer xelqid guluxd havakeq aylevs

    1. Don’t you tire of yourself? You had posted a similar BS on my blog, too.

      1. 🙂 Very tireless.

        1. Did this guy just threaten to kill someone??? Wow man, keep hiding behind your computer. One of these days one of the hundreds of people that you piss off daily are going to find you.

          1. you should see the comments he writes on both my blog (unpublshed) and to my email…

          2. @GORo
            I’m not all that difficult to find gor-gor, I’m in GLEN DAAAALE, oopss I mean glenHEEEEELLLL, Lmfaooooooo. if you got the balls gor-gors, come and find me, me and 20 AP members are waiting for you, not to mention the 300+ Hayasers who surround me every day. I can tell you this much….EVERYONE in glenHELL knows who I am, knows well that I’m HAYASER from youtube and blog comments and still to this day I can not be touched. so, you might want to realize who it is you trying to pick a fight with, we ARmenians don’t back down from any fight, especially from gor-gors. I mean you gor-gors can easily screw my homeland and ppl from here and else where afar, but here locally no gor-gor has the balls to screw with us….dont hate the playa….hate dat game that you all created
            he he…you likes my lil personal email I sent to you
            and so you know, I MEANT EVERY SINGLE WORD IN IT TOO
            LMFAOOOOOOOOOOO at you

          3. Pseudo-Armenian “Hayaser”; You have proven yourself to be a coward sissy already, you were openly challenged and you gave out a wrong number, then you challenger gave his number, and naturally you had no balls to do anything about it. The conversation is on youtube, your reputation is already known as a sissy and a fake Armo.

          4. This coward was openly challenged, and like a yellow chicken he gave out the number to a music store in Glendale instead of acting like a man. After they called they had no clue who he was. He is a FAKE and a Coward.

    2. I fully agree with you. Abortion is disgusting in Armenia and elsewhere, should be illegal and punishable. But people like you must definitely be aborted at earliest opportunity. Aryan KaKaz chicken behind keyboards.
      One day I will put my hands on your throat and hang you upside down you low life traitor.

      1. Everyone in Glendale knows who he is? LMAO!! Put a face behind your comments. I know people who have tried to meet you in person but you were nowhere to be found. There are 320 people that surround you everyday? What are you guys a cult? What is this organization you are called? I’ve never seen one person agree with anything you say, not one!

    3. Please take him to the nearest mental institute, he has a distorted vision of Armenians, the world and reality as a whole. He must have experienced some really bad incidents in his childhood/life, you’ll understand him if you feel bad about him.
      He needs medication, therapy; it’s for his own good.

    4. The ranting of a mentally unstable and delusional person who needs to be on medication right away. God you need help.

    5. You just say you will kill 3 to 4 Armenians because they killed an Armenian.
      Go to math class, dude!

  3. The same thing happens in China. The urban people are allowed 1 child, the rural people are allowed 2 children. Since the boys are more valued in the society, female fetuses are often aborted.
    The end result is an imbalance of genders.

    1. Armenia’s had an imbalance until now as well. It was the running joke that for every single guy, there are 3-4 girls and every man could create a harem and still have women left over in Armenia. I know it struck my whole family as strange the first time we visited Armenia, because everyone we came across had girls. We all laughed that Armenians in Armenia don’t have the secret formula to make men. the tables have turned around now, but I’m not sure what caused the change. There are still a large number of girls and they do outnumber the boys it seems, though I don’t know the latest official statistics.

      1. I suspect that the abortion of female fetuses has a lot to do with the change.

        1. why though? when they didn’t have that problem less than 10 years ago…

          1. Ten years ago access to echoscopy used to detect the unborn child’s gender, was much less accessible, not all medical institutions had it and it was expensive.

      2. The males go to work abroad hence the imbalance in the society. I was expecting that the females would become much more prominent like they did in Rwanda after the genocide. During the Rwandan genocide the main targets for murder were males (the females were mainly targeted for rape).
        But despite being outnumbered, Armenia is still a male dominated society.

  4. Reblogged this on Notes of a Spurkahye and commented:
    One of the bigger problems in Armenia at the moment…

  5. they say I’m GIZH, they say that Hayaser is seriously GIZH
    I say this to all of you…..
    Եվ ինձ լսելով`
    Կարող են ասել.
    “Գժվե՞լ է, ի՜նչ է”:
    Իսկ ես էլ կը ասեմ.
    “Այո’, գժվե՜լ եմ,
    Ինչո՞ւ չը գժվել”:
    Իսկ գժվելով չե՞ն սիրում և ատում:
    Իսկ գժվելուց չէ՞ փայտը ճարճատում:
    Առանց գժվելու` չի կա շահած մարտ:
    Առանց գժվելու` չեն ծունի նոր մարդ:
    Մինչև չը գժվի` ջուրը չի եռա,
    Կեղև չի պատռի հատիկը նուռան:
    Ծառե՞րն են փութութում`
    Գժվա՜ծ են անշուշտ:
    Երկիրն է պատատում`
    Գժված է անշուշտ…
    Սերմերը մինչև կարգին չը գժվեն`
    Բերք չե’ն դառնալու:
    Թաթերը մինչև կարգին չը գժվեն`
    Ձեռք չեն դառնալու:
    Բառերն էլ մինչև կարգին չը գժվեն`
    Ե’րգ չեն դառնալու…
    Ա՜խ, ուր էր թե ես միշտ գի’ժ լինեի…
    Մենք գժվե՜լ ենք
    ”Գժվել”- Պարույր Սևակ

  6. Why the hell would you abort in a society where the rate of births are already low compared to our enemies? We’re forcefully decreasing our population, I am speechless. Conceptions should change, mentalities also, something needs to be done or else we won’t be seeing a land named Armenia a hundred years from now. Shame on us!

    1. @Moses,
      I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement, “We won’t be seeing a land named Armenia a hundred years from now.”

    2. @Moses exactly! Armenians did 12-14,000 abortions every year since 2009, while the average birthrate in the same period was 40-45,000. So it seems like we’re killing 20-25% of our children!!! Can you imagine!?

      1. Wow, 20-25% percent of our future is being aborted every year. Coupled with the thousands that leave Armenia, our population is declining.
        Do you know what the rough estimate is of the people leaving Armenia every year? I don’t know what the real #’s are. Also, I think Charles Aznavour was right when he said Armenia suffers internal Genocide.

        1. @Garo – I’m just working on a post related to population and demography. Give me a day or two.

  7. Art, can you please put a maximum allowed chars number to your comments? This Hayaser’s flood kick to me to eyes.

    1. :)) Mik jan, I got freedom of speech here on this blog, with all the related consequences. Even commenting policy doesn’t help

  8. PPL, this was a very sad and thoughtful article. However, Andranik’s comment and the follow up discussion turned it into sheer mockery.
    This has frustrated me and forced to modify my “comments and moderation policy.” I have added the following new rule:
    “Unrelated comments will be deleted, unless I really like them and decide to leave them in.”

  9. Banning abortion is not going to be a solution. If that is seen as a method for birth control then there are more traumatic methods such as medicine to prevent pregnancy. But in any case, if the woman does not want the fetus, they are going to abort the pregnancy. If you ban it, they will resort to non-clinical methods which will be far more damaging to their health.

    1. I totally agree with you there.
      A better way to approach the problem would be:
      1. More state support / allowances to mothers;
      2. Public advocacy campaigns against the abortion, especially that of female-childs

    2. There is a mistake in my earlier comment. It should read “there are LESS traumatic methods such as medicine to prevent pregnancy”.

  10. We need to spread the idea that life begins at conception and aborting babies by any means is near the act of committing murder. For me abortion (especially in Armenia) must be illegal, especially given that “gender selection” is going on, which I find repulsive. I think having a male baby is wonderful but having a female baby is even more wonderful. Yet there is still an idea that I struggle with and that is whether there are a few cases that maybe abortion should be allowed, perhaps rape (or something worse).

  11. Abortion is good for society.
    And unborns were fetuses, not babies.
    And nobody has to decide except the parents.
    If somebody worried she can setup a child production factory, but she has to remember that being born in not enough. One does not become a human being by just being born. He has needs, and we need him to be educated, and to have those needs satisfied. Otherwise it is more bad for the society than good.
    Freakonomics has a very important part on abortion.
    I don’t want those babies to be born. One of them could kill me in the night when I get back from work, another one could steal my phone, another one – rape my girl.
    No, thanks.

    1. Abortion may be good for a country like China, but a catastrophe for a country like Armenia.
      And if one accepts the fact that an unborn has life when he/she is conceived, then a “fetus” is every bit a human being at one day old as he/she is newborn. I am talking about real-life outcomes, not technical terminology.

  12. Also, numbers tell me the other thing: that’s not about unborn fetuses, that’s about not very literate people who don’t know how to make sex and not become pregnant when it is not really necessary to them.
    What can we really do about it is education.

  13. Just when I thought things like these only happened in Afghanistan and India.
    Dear men of our country, sincerely, stop being a chauvinistic male bunch of imbeciles who think you are good enough to abuse, humiliate, and destroy the lives of women. Dear women of our nation, stop being a powerless group of victimized females who cannot say no to the pressure of the men who say they love you, but who’ve got no problem in forcing you to irreversibly hurt yourself and then trash you like one trashes a plastic bag.
    When will men understand is their chromosomes the ones who determine the sex of the child? When will women understand and learn to values themselves?

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