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Even rich, educated abort second girl child, shows study

Monday May 23, 2011 10:49:45 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Even rich and educated Indian families with a girl as the first child choose to abort their second child if prenatal test shows it to be a girl, said a study released by Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR) here Tuesday.

According to the study: "Analysis of the trends examined from the statistics of the census of year 2011, 2001, 1991 note a sharp decline in the girl-to-boy sex ratio for second order births when the first-born was a girl, sex ratio falling by an average of about 0.5 percent annually between the year 1990-2005."

"These declines are greater in educated and in richer households than in illiterate and poorer households," said the study, to be published in the medical journal Lancet May 24.

The study, led by Prabhat Jha of the CGHR and joined by professors from foreign universities and former registrar-general of India Jayant K. Banthia, said: "The girl-boy ratio fell from 906 girls per 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 per 1,000 boys in 2005, showing an annual decline of 0·52 percent."

"The declines were much greater in mothers with 10 or more years of education than in mothers with no education, and in wealthier households compared with poorer households," it said.

According to census 2011, the child sex ratio has dropped to 914 females against 1,000 males - the lowest since Independence.

"The estimated number of selective abortions in the 1980s were around two million, the number rose to around four million in the 1990s, and was between 3.1 to six million in the 2000s. Each 1 percent decline in girl-to-boy sex ratio at ages 0-6 years translates to 1.2 to 3.6 million more selective female abortions," the study said.

The data suggested that selective abortion has spread from a handful of states to most parts of the country.

S.V. Subramanian from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, said: "The demand for sons among wealthy parents is being satisfied by the medical community through the provision of illegal services of fetal sex-determination and sex-selective abortion."

"The financial incentive for physicians to undertake this illegal activity seems to be far greater than the penalties associated with breaking the law," he said.





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