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500,000 girls aborted a year in India
500,000 girls aborted a year in India
Now I am no pro-lifer, but this did catch my eye today on the BBC web-site, as it sounds like a recipe for future misery (as well as current misery for all those babies needlessly aborted):
More than 10m female births in India may have been lost to abortion and sex selection in the past 20 years, according to medical research.
Researchers in India and Canada for the Lancet journal said prenatal selection and selective abortion was causing the loss of 500,000 girls a year.
Their research was based on a national survey of 1.1m households in 1998.
The researchers said the "girl deficit" was more common among educated women but did not vary according to religion.
The unusual gender balance in India has been known about for some time.
In most countries, women slightly outnumber men, but separate research for the year 2001 showed that for every 1,000 male babies born in India, there were just 933 girls.
The latest research is by Prabhat Jha of St Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Rajesh Kumar of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research in Chandigarh, India.
They found that there was an increasing tendency to select boys when previous children had been girls.
In cases where the preceding child was a girl, the ratio of girls to boys in the next birth was 759 to 1,000.
This fell even further when the two preceding children were both girls. Then the ratio for the third child born was just 719 girls to 1,000 boys.
However, for a child following the birth of a male child, the gender ratio was roughly equal.
Prabhat Jha said conservative estimates in the research suggested half a million girls were being lost each year.
"If this practice has been common for most of the past two decades since access to ultrasound became widespread, then a figure of 10m missing female births would not be unreasonable."
Sex selective abortions have been banned in India for more than a decade.
Experts in India say female foeticide is mostly linked to socio-economic factors.
It is an idea that many say carries over from the time India was a predominantly agrarian society where boys were considered an extra pair of hands on the farm.
The girl child has traditionally been considered inferior and a liability - a bride's dowry can cripple a poor family financially.
The BBC's Jill McGivering says the problem is complicated by advances in technology. Ultrasound machines must be officially registered but many are now so light and portable, they are hard to monitor.
Although doctors in India must not tell couples the sex of a foetus, in practice, some just use coded signals instead, our correspondent says.
Last year the well-known religious leader and social activist, Swami Agnivesh, began a campaign across five northern and western states against female foeticide.
"There's no other form of violence that's more painful, more abhorrent, more shameful," he said.
I believe a similar uneven sex mix is being achieved in China as a consequence of the one child policy.
1/11/2006 1:00 pm
A very thought-provoking read... and very sad too. |
1/12/2006 10:16 am
Very sad to read this...knowing that so many women can not have children breaks the heart.|
No Day Is So Bad It Can't Be Fixed With Great Sex!
1/12/2006 10:43 am
It's also thought-provoking that these figures have not been more of a leading news story - that's a lot abortions, and I think that's a lot of trouble when all those boys grow up.|
1/13/2006 5:50 am
Trouble us girls cost - to marry them off you need to pay a dowry, which can be significant, and of course if you have a boy you receive a dowry...|
It is still surprisingly common in parts of South Asia, and of course you can have the awful situation where a dowry is paid only for the woman to later be rejected (in favour of another woman / greater dowry), and divorced / rejected women may be seen as worthless.
Things are improving, but for some areas is all too slow