Sex-selection abortions are harming mothers and killing baby girls all across India.
A new report from Zee Media Bureau describes a Mumbai woman’s recent complaint to police about her husband forcing her to abort eight unborn baby girls because he wanted a son.
According to the report, the 40-year-old woman from Dadar, Mumbai, India married her husband in 2007. A lawyer from a wealthy, well-educated family, the man allegedly began beating his wife and demanding that she give birth to a son.
The woman told police that she gave birth to a daughter in 2009, and became pregnant with their second child, another girl, in 2011.
She said her husband forced her to abort their second daughter after he took her to Bangkok in Thailand for a prenatal sex identification test. India prohibits prenatal testing to determine the baby’s sex because sex-selection abortions are such a rampant problem.
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In total, the woman told police that her husband forced her to abort eight unborn babies as well as to take steroid shots. She estimated that he injected her with steroids up to 1,500 times, according to the report.
Police said they are investigating the woman’s complaint.
Her troubling story fits with other evidence about sex-selection abortions in India.
Contrary to what some may assume, wealth, not poverty, is linked to abortion and gender discrimination. Several years ago, an analysis of the data by India Spend found that the per capita income in India rose nearly 10 times at the same time as the ratio of boys to girls dropped.
The analysis found that the wealthiest states in India tended to have the most disproportionate ratios of boys to girls. For example, Delhi has the second highest per capita income but its ratio of boys to girls is 1,000 to 896, according to the report.
Research published in “The Lancet” in April estimates at least 13.5 million baby girls were aborted in sex-selection abortions in India between 1987 and 2016, but they said the number could be higher.
Similar to the India Spend analysis, the Lancet study also found that sex-selection abortions were most common among the richest and most well-educated families in India, noting, “missing female births were more common in the richest wealth quintile and among women with higher literacy.”
India has prohibited sex-selection abortions since 1994.
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