India To Outlaw Sex-Selective Abortions Of Girls

Even though India worships female goddesses, some of India’s expectant mothers have been pressured by a culture that privileges males into aborting their female fetuses. Authorities believe eight million girls may have been aborted in India in the last decade alone. Now the government is taking charge and planning to jail entire families for up to seven years if they abort a fetus just because it’s female. Additionally, clinicians will be fined from 1000 Rupees or sentenced to three years in prison if found performing ultrasounds to ascertain the sex of the fetus.

In some lesser-developed parts of India, a daughter is seen as a financial burden to the family in the future. In the Indian culture, the parents of a young woman “must pay expensive dowries to marry [the girl] off. The dowry is a cultural tradition and the single biggest reason Indians prefer boys,” ABC News explains.

The families of the future mother and father will even attend the sex-selection testing occasions at the clinics to find out the future child’s sex.  Sometimes pregnant women have the sex determination tests and/or abortions at the behest of their relatives; the new law will prosecute families for this pressure, too.

Of course there are ethical concerns regarding aborting female fetuses, as well as population concerns down the road. (Indian men outnumber Indian women by 40 million.) But there are reproductive rights questions here, too: The Indian government is focusing on populating its nation with more girls but the result is restricting a woman’s freedom to do what she wants with her own body. Where can the line be drawn between preventing discriminatory sex-selection and, consequently, denying women their right to an abortion?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[International Business Times]
[The Telegraph]
[ABC News]

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