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Abortion in India is Tipping Scales Sharply Against Girls

on 2001/4/24 9:49:02 ( 1633 reads )


AFFARPUR, INDIA, April 21, 2001: Though India outlawed sex-determination tests in a weakly enforced law in 1994, their use has spread to small towns served by itinerant doctors who carry an ultrasound machines from clinic to clinic. Here in the northern state of Punjab, Gurjit Kaur, 22, said she paid 500 rupees, US$10.87, for an ultrasound test a year ago, then aborted her pregnancy after a doctor told her she was carrying a girl. Pregnant again with the longed-for male child, she said "our elders wanted a boy." Early figures from the 2001 census have made it clear that female fetuses are being regularly aborted, continuing a trend that first became marked in the 1980's. The number of girls per 1,000 boys dropped to 927 this year from 945 in 1991 and 962 in 1981. The fall in the ratio of girls to boys over the past decade, when India's population grew by 181 million, has been most extreme in the richest states of the north and west, where people can afford tests and abortions. India has the lowest ratio of females to males among the 10 most populous countries in the world. In the USA, 1.6 million of 6 million pregnancies each year are aborted, with no distinction between boys and girls, and at an average cost of $300.

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