President Jimmy Carter has publicly denounced sex-selective abortion, considering it part of the global oppression of women.
In an interview with David Letterman on Monday, the 89-year-old former president said that sex-selective abortion and infanticide of female babies was the "worst human rights abuse on earth."
"160 million girls are now missing from the face of the earth because they were murdered at birth by their parents or either selectively aborted when their parents find out that the fetus is a girl," said Carter.
"Well, it's the worst human rights abuse on earth and it's basically unaddressed … So, that many people are missing and they're all girls who are missing."
Carter also linked the issue of infanticide and sex-selective abortion to the international slave trade, stating that with the absence of women many men "buy brides."
"15 years ago there was an accurate assessment in China and 50 million were already missing there because the Chinese government had mandated one-is-best, two-is-most, and then India has had the same problem with them, and in many other countries as well," said Carter.
"So now, for instance in China and India and South Korea and some other countries, young men can't find brides to marry, so they buy brides and that increases the amount of slavery that exists on earth."
The Letterman interview came as Carter was promoting his recently published book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.
"The world's discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights: This is President Jimmy Carter's call to action," reads the Amazon description.
"President Carter was encouraged to write this book by a wide coalition of leaders of all faiths. His urgent report covers a system of discrimination that extends to every nation."
Released on Monday, A Call to Action has received positive reviews from many publications including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
During his political career and one term presidency, Carter was known for his personal opposition to abortion coupled with his willingness to enforce Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.
"I think abortion is wrong. I don't think the government ought to do anything to encourage abortion," said Carter in a 1976 debate.
"I will do everything I can to minimize the need for abortions with better sex education, family planning, with better adoptive procedures. I personally don't believe that the federal government ought to finance abortions, but I draw the line and don't support a constitutional amendment [to ban abortion.]"