Saturday, January 14, 2006

Female feticide

The lead in this story makes me sad.
NEW DELHI – Banned by Indian law for more than a decade, the practice of renatal selection and selective abortion remains a common practice in India, laiming up to half a million female children each year, according to a recent study by the British medical journal, The Lancet.

But the details make me sick.

The use of ultrasound equipment to determine the sex of an unborn child - introduced to India in 1979 - has now spread to every district in the country. The study found it played a crucial role in the determination of an estimated 10 million female fetuses in the two decades leading up to 1998, and 5 million since 1994, the year the practice was banned. Few doctors in regular clinics offer the service openly, but activists estimate that sex-selection is a $100 million business in India, largely through mobile sex-selection clinics that can drive into almost any village or neighborhood. . .

Against common expectations, female feticide is not a crime of India's backward masses. Instead, it is most common among India's elite, who can afford multiple trips to an ultrasound clinic, and the hushed-up abortion of an unwanted girl.