A new study adds more evidence to the troubling trend of gender discrimination against girls across the globe.
The targeting of girls for sex-selection abortions and infanticide is a serious problem, especially in countries where there are cultural preferences for boys. In many Asian countries, men now outnumber women in startlingly high ratios.
The new study, published in the Medico-Legal Journal in the UK, examined infant abandonment in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Researchers’ findings indicated that the discrimination against baby girls is a problem even in the most wealthy neighborhoods in the country.
DNA India reports the researchers examined the autopsies of 238 babies who were abandoned between 1996 and 2012 in south Delhi, a rich area of the nation’s capital. About a third of the babies were reported to be stillborn, while another third were born alive after a full-term pregnancy, and another third were born before viability, according to the study.
The report explains more details about the study:
Among the live born cases, the majority of the deaths were attributed to murder (77%), followed by natural causes (19%) and accidental (1%), the study said. Newborns found abandoned in south Delhi during the 17-year period, 54 had been murdered.
45 of them had suffered injury on the head by a blunt force, five were smothered, three strangulated and one had the throat slit, indicating a particularly cruel attitude. Other causes of death included natural or accidental like pneumonia, congenital diseases or hypothermia and accidental suffocation, the study said.
Among the 238 foetuses, 115 (48%) were males and 110 (46%) were females. Sex of the foetus could not be ascertained in 13 cases either due to early gestational age or due to the advanced stage of decomposition, the study said.
Many of the babies’ bodies were found in drains and along roadsides, in trash cans, and near schools and hospitals, according to the study.
Dr. C Behera, who co-authored the study, said they found an unusually high number of girls among the babies who were at least 20 weeks gestation – the point when most parents find out their unborn baby’s sex.
“Owing to the societal bias in favor of a male, this could mean that selective female feticide happened during this period,” Behera said. “In India, medical abortion is allowed only up to 20 weeks of gestational age and criminal abortions and selective female feticide subsequent to antenatal sex determination are more likely before 20 weeks of pregnancy.”
Behera said their study was only a small sample of the cases in the Indian capital city. He said there has been very little research up to this point about infant abandonment in the city.
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“But I can tell you that 238 fetuses and newborns abandoned is only the tip of the iceberg for Delhi,” Behera said.
The targeting of girls for sex-selection abortions and infanticide has become a global problem. As LifeNews previously reported, sex-selection abortions are commonplace in nations like China and India, where women are often forced to abort female unborn babies; however, evidence suggests that they also occurring in the U.S. and Europe.
A 2015 report found that sex-selection abortions also are a problem in Australia. The study found that the boy girl ratio for Indian-born parents in Australia is 108.2 boys born for every 100 girls; and the median is 109.5 boys born for every 100 girls for Chinese-born parents.
The gender discrimination has become so bad in India that doctors are prohibited from telling parents the sex of their unborn baby. Some of the nation’s leaders also have put together creative social campaigns to promote the value of girls and discourage gender discrimination.