India Experiences Rise in Sex-Selective Abortions

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 01:33 PM

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Sex-selective abortion in India is on the rise among couples who already have a female child. A new study published in the Lancet has found that as prosperity and education spread, so does the practice of using abortion to have a male offspring, The Washington Post reports.

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A family in India (AP Photo)
Unlike China where one-child families are the norm, India does not have a strong preference for boys as the first-born child.

Prabhat Jha, a demographer at the University of Toronto and the lead researcher in the study, said “it appears that families are saying, ‘Nature will decide the first child, but we are going to let technology decide the second child if the first is a girl,’ ” he said.

India banned the use of medical technology to determine the sex of fetuses in order to abort girls in 1996. However, while the sex ratio of first-born children has not changed significantly, the ratio of later children has.

The study found that in families whose first-born was a girl, the incidence of the second-born being a girl fell almost steadily from 906 per 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 in 2005.

The most extreme decline was found in families where the first two children were girls. In that situation, the ratio was 768 to 1,000 in 2006, according to the Post.



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