Next Monday a report will be released in London that looks at trends in population, development and reproductive health in today's India.
The report, Disappearing Daughters, prepared by the NGO Actionaid and Canada's International Development Research Centre, outlines India's growing "sex selection" crisis. This arises out of the spreading practice of sex selection abortion used to ensure male children by aborting female fetuses. From Reuters Alternet:
"Findings from sites across five states in north and northwest India reveal that the sex ratio of girls to boys has not only worsened but is accelerating compared to the last national census in 2001.
Latest figures from one site in the Punjab, India’s richest state, show the number of girls has plummeted to just 300 compared to 1000 boys amongst higher cast families.
In a culture that predominantly views girls as an expense rather than an asset, women are put under intense pressure to produce sons.
The trend for smaller families is also deepening the aversion to daughters, with the use of ultrasound technology now being used to plan families. This is despite the existence of laws banning prenatal sex detection and sex selective abortion.
ActionAid has also found that girls are more likely to be born but less likely to survive in areas with more limited access to public health services and modern ultrasound technology. In rural Morena and Dhaulpur, deliberate neglect of girls, including allowing the umbilical cord to become infected, is used as a way to dispose of unwanted daughters. Such neglect ensures fewer surviving daughters, with the best chances of being born and surviving as a girl depending on the birth order in your family. "