NRL News

A “significant drop” in sex-selective abortions in India and Nepal

by | Feb 27, 2015

Follows decision by Supreme Court of India

By Dave Andrusko

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Up to eight million unborn girls may have been aborted in India in last decade

Up to eight million unborn girls may have been aborted in India in last decade

If a story in AsiaNews is accurate, it’s not often you see a result as startling—or as quick—as this.

Last week NRL News Today reported that the Indian Supreme Court had directed major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing to no longer carry ads for pre-natal sex selection services.

The justices’ lamented selective abortion. They wrote

“India is suffering so much because of sex ratio, but still there is a state of antipathy. Despite being banned, selective abortion is taking place and it is a growing problem for this country. This must stopped.”

The bench, comprised of Justices Dipak, Misra, and PC Pant also asked the three search engines to upload the restraint order on their policy pages and on the pages containing “terms and conditions of service.”

Reporting for AsiaNews, Christopher Sharma writes about the “first consequence” on both India and Nepal of the court’s ban:

A significant drop in female foeticides has been recorded in the two Asian countries, a practice that had become a major issue of concern because of the resulting gender imbalance in favour of males that it had created. … The doctors who work in clinics along the Nepal-India border – more than 1,800 km in the south, east and west of Nepal – confirm that the number of patients seeking sex selection operations or abortions has declined.

And a very significant decline–the number declined by half when the search engines dropped the advertising –said Rajesh Kumar, owner of the Modern Medicine Clinic in Sunwal, a border town in Indian territory.

Kumar told Sharma that previously, every week at least five women came for “a selective abortion.” By contrast,”only three visited us” in the last week.

All local clinics, he added, “have registered a drop in operations.”

Another abortionist, who operates in a clinic between the towns of Rupaidiha (India) and Nepalgunj (Nepal), also told Sharma that he noted a “significant decline” in the number of “customers” who “come to us for sex selection or abortions.”

Sex-selective abortions are illegal in both nations but, given the cultural preference for sons, the law is widely ignored. However as the imbalance between baby girls and boys continues to worsen—some data suggests there are few as 914 females per 1,000 males—the governments are beginning to crack down.

Professor Mita Singh agreed that the drop in selective abortions can be attributed “to the decision of the judges” of the Supreme Court of India. But she offered an even more significant possible explanation:

the “growing awareness” of the importance and role of girls and women in society. In the past, “males were favoured over females” in the Hindu family, but today this “is gradually decreasing.”