Progressive India bays for unborn girls' blood

Unfair to fair sex

Progressive India bays for unborn girls' blood

A study published in the “Lancet” on Tuesday paints a grim future for the women, with  wealthy and educated families increasingly going for abortion of the second girl ch­ild if their first-born also was a girl.  Between 30 lakh and 60 lakh female foetuses were selectively aborted in the country in the last three decades, claims the study.

The rate is higher than the combined figures for the last two decades. Selective abortions of girls are estimated to be between 4.2 and 12.1 million over the three decades from 1980 to 2010, as per the research findings that are to be published in the upcoming issue of the magazine.

They analysed census data and 2.5 lakh birth histories from national surveys to estimate differences in girl-boy ratio for second births in families where the first-born child had been a girl.  The sex ratio for the second child, if the firstborn is a girl, fell from 906 girls to 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 in 2005.

The ratio decreased further in the families with mothers of 10 or more years of education, but was unchanged for uneducated mothers.

The study claimed selective abortion not only increased in the last few decades but gender imbalance travelled to east and south from the “traditional hot spots” in north India.

“As India gets richer, the situation is going to get worse because wealth would lead to a higher level of access to sex selection technologies and areas outside the scope of law. The private sector in healthcare is also largely unregulated and major reforms are required,” said Prabhat Jha, principal investigator of the study from the University of Toronto.

If pre-natal testing shows a baby girl, more parents opt for abortion of their second child to ensure having at least one boy in the family. 

The 2011 census revealed about 71 lakh fewer girls than boys in the 0-6 age group, which is significantly higher than the corresponding figures in the previous two headcounts. The gap was 60 lakh in 2001 and 42 lakh in the 1991 Census.

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