Selective abortion of girls on rise among rich, educated:Study

Updated: May 24, 2011, 16:11 PM IST

New Delhi: More and more Indian families, particularly those which are more wealthy and educated, are going for selective abortion of the second girl child if their first-born too was a girl, claims a new study.

Such selective abortions of girls are estimated to be between 4 and 12 million over the three decades from 1980 to 2010, as per the research findings that are to be published in the upcoming issue of prestigious `Lancet` magazine.

The parents going for it want to ensure that at least one child in the family should be a boy.

The researchers found that selective abortions not only increased in last few decades but the gender imbalance also travelled to east and south from the "traditional hot spots" in north India.

"Most of India`s population now live in states where selective abortion is common," lead author Prabhat Jha from University of Toronto told reporters here.

They analysed census data and 2.5 lakh birth histories from national surveys to estimate differences in girl-boy ratio for second births in families where the first-born child had been a girl. They found that this girl-boy ratio fell from 906 girls per 1000 boys in 1990 to 836 in 2005.

"Declines were much greater in mothers with 10 or more years of education than those with no education and in wealthier households. But if the first child had been a boy, there was no fall in the girl-boy ratio for second child over the study period," Jha said.

The article authors said this suggests that selective abortion of female foetuses, usually after a first-born girl, had been more common in richer and educated families.

PTI