Despite being outlawed in 2004, the rates of selective abortions of girls in India have substantially increased—particularly among the wealthier classes—according to a recent study published by The Lancet. The sex of a fetus can be determined in an ultrasound after 14 weeks, and in India abortions are only legal until the 12-week point.
While gender ratios vary among the regions, the overall rates of girls have greatly decreased since the last Indian census, 10 years ago. The latest census has shown that for every 1,000 boys under the age of six there are only 914 girls of the same age.
Why the girls? As Feministing has pointed out, these statistics are indicative of larger cultural values. Female babies are not as valued as male babies, because women are not as valued as men in traditional Indian culture (and, it could be argued, universally.) Men are credited with preserving the family name, while women are expected to marry ”into” other families. Also, according to the The New York Times, sons are expected to inherit property and perform the funeral rights of their parents.
In an interview with BBC News Sabu George, an well-known campaigner against sex-selective abortions states, "We have to take effective steps to control the promotion of sex determination by the medical community. And file cases against doctors who do it, otherwise by 2021, we are frightened to think what it will be like."
[Image from Chico Party]