Monday, April 21, 2008

sex-selective abortions in India

A piece in the LA Times on the trend in India toward aborting female fetuses. An excerpt:

The statistics tell this story starkly: In 1981, when ultrasound technology was rare here, India had 962 girls for every 1,000 boys. That's about what nature dictates. But by 1991, as ultrasound technology began spreading, 962 had tumbled to 945. Ten years later, it was 927. In some parts of the country, particularly parts of north India where the preference for boys can be traced back centuries, the ratio plummeted.


And furthermore:

Activists say the laws of supply and demand don't apply in the face of such powerful cultural norms -- and the shortage of potential brides has done nothing to make girls seem more valuable. "The girl is like someone else's property -- she's going to leave one day," said Hema Singhal, an OB-GYN who runs a small medical center in Morena with her husband.

Wow, again.

There's mention in the article of laws against sex-selective abortions, which are almost impossible to enforce and have done little to change the trend. It's tempting to see this as a problem with abortion - what kind of a procedure enables parents to reject women wholesale? But to me it just underlines the global problem that women are not valued as highly as men. Change that attitude, and sex-selective abortion goes away. If it continues, women will suffer in other ways. It's so disturbing, though, that the trend of thinking of women as a minority is being translated into numerical reality. If something like this continues, women will be an actual minority.

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