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Made in India Magazine | November 25, 2020

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Himanshu Yadav

Late abortions based on the knowledge of the infant’s gender are illegal in India, but their numbers have risen with technological innovations that can now tell the gender of a foetus from a mere blood sample.

In India, abortion based on sex selection is one of the most pertinent issues at the moment. Historically speaking, girls have had a hard time in India, where infanticide of female children was quite common in the early parts of the twentieth century, because daughters were expensive to keep and required a dowry, whereas sons took care of their parents in old age. Indeed, even in the religious texts of Hinduism, the majority religion in India, the path to moksha – or spiritual nirvana – was through the begetting of a son. And there is an often-repeated proverb that says, ‘If you tell too many lies, you will have daughters.’
Having a daughter, then has been historically seen as a punishment.
Education levels increased in the 1950s, and the practice of infanticide waned, but by the 1970s, prenatal sex determination became widely available. In the 1990s, with the advent of ultrasound, you could tell the sex of the foetus at around the five-month period of pregnancy.
With this, abortions became more widespread, perhaps because parents began to see abortion as less of an ethical burden than killing an infant. In the period between 2001 to 2011, about 6 million of foetuses were aborted after five months of pregnancy, most likely due to gender bias. Normally, human societies have 950 women to 1000 men, but in India, the numbers have lowered by 2011 to 914. That may seem like a small number, but when you scale it to the population of India, it equates to millions of abortions.
Ironically, technology and progress, instead of leading us to light, is pushing us further back into darkness.

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