India Sees Hundreds of Women March Against Sex-Selection Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

India Sees Hundreds of Women March Against Sex-Selection Abortions, Infanticides Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 1,

New Delhi, India ( — Hundreds of women in India took to the streets on Wednesday to march in protest against sex-selection abortions and female infanticides that are ravaging the population of girls there. Despite both governmental and private efforts, the deaths of girl babies is causing a problematic gender imbalance.

The women marched through the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar to protest the growing number of cases of abortions and infanticides there.

The carried banners reading "hang the murderers" and "spare the girls" and called on the government to do more to crack down on illegal clinics that do the abortions or provide illegal ultrasounds.

After several high profile cases of officials finding bodies of unborn girl babies, including a recent case where 30 bags of bodies were discovered, police found another 14 bodies on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

"We have sealed the clinic and we are exploring all legal options at the moment," Amitabh Thakur, a senior police officer, told the news service.

Female children are seen in many tribal areas as a hindrance and many girl babies are simply taken to remote areas and left to die. Boys are also traditionally preferred in many areas of the country as the main workers in the family and because parents often have to pay large dowries to marry off daughters.

Last December, a new report by UNICEF indicated 7,000 fewer female babies are born every day because parents can determine the sex of their unborn baby and kill her before birth. In 80 percent of India’s districts, a higher percentage of boys are born now than a decade ago.

The report cites the increased availability of cheap ultrasound technology as playing a role despite attempts by the India government to crack down on its use.

UNICEF says the resulting gender imbalance from sex selection abortions is particularly prevalent in the wealthier regions of the nation where access to the ultrasound technology easier.

UNICEF based the findings on Indian census data and they follow a report in early 2006 from the British medical journal Lancet, which estimated that 10 million baby girls have probably been aborted in the last 20 years.

The results show that a 1994 law prohibiting the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of a baby for non-medical reasons is not working, even though the Indian government has announced several recent arrests in a renew effort to enforce the law.

Some Indian states such as Punjab and Haryana face male-female ratios as low as 799 girls born for every 1,000 boys.