A new study published in the Lancet on Tuesday estimates that sex selective abortion of baby girls in India has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six. It also says that the gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade (according to an AFP report)
The study reveals that many Indian families, in which the first child is a girl, arrange for prenatal ultrasound testing with a view to establishing the sex of their babies and will abort a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy.
In the study, researchers led by Prabhat Jha of the Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto, analysed census data from 2011 and earlier.
They also examined over 250,000 births from national surveys to calculate the difference in the girl-boy ratio for second births in families in which the first-born child had been a girl.
They found that this ratio fell from 906 girls per 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 girls per 1,000 boys in 2005, an annual decline of a half of a percent.
Declines were much greater in mothers who had gone to school for at least ten years than in mothers with no education at all. The same trend held true for wealthier households compared to poorer ones.
The increasingly lopsided ratio of girls to boys however is larger in wealthy households than poorer ones, the researchers reported.
Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, up to 12 million girls may have been aborted because of their sex.
Well done to Fiorella Nash in highlighting the human tragedy associated with this barbaric practice in her BLOG