AAP May 24, 2011
SEX selection of foetuses in India has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six, a gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade, according to a study released today. In Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents with access to prenatal ultrasound testing are aborting a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy, said the study, published in The Lancet. The increasingly lopsided ratio of girls to boys is larger in wealthy households than poorer ones, the researchers reported. Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, four to 12 million girls were aborted because of their sex. “Selective abortion of female foetuses, usually after a firstborn girl, has increased in India over the past few decades, and has contributed to a widening imbalance in the child sex ratio,” they conclude.
The female shortfall for the zero-to-six age bracket was 6.0 million in 2001, and 4.2 million in 1991. “Increases in selective abortion of girls are probably because of persistent son preference combined with decreases in fertility,” the authors say.