Keeping Baby Gender a Secret Could Save Girls in India

India’s prime minster, Manmohan Singh is calling for stricter enforcement on laws designed to hide the sex of the fetus from their parents until birth. She described the rampant aborting of female fetuses as a “national shame.”


The decline in female births can be attributed to two factors. First is money. A family with a female is required to scrape together a dowry to their son-in-law — this can be a very heavy financial burden and bury the parents in crushing debt. The wealthier regions of India suffered the most acute imbalance in female to male birth ratio where a male heir is of particular importance and the access to the surprising high-tech reason #2 is much easier. To see what it is, read more.

The slipping number of baby girls is also due to the employment of more sophisticated pre-natal technologies like ultrasound. To combat the female decline, pregnant women are required to sign a form agreeing not to seek to know the sex of their fetus. If a doctor slips and reveals this information, they can be imprisoned for up to five years. The don't ask don't tell approach to baby law is widely flouted and very difficult to enforce. Some doctors covertly report the sex of the child by offering pink or blue candy, others give coded remarks; there simply is no effective enforcement.

It is estimated in 2006 as many as ten million female fetuses had been aborted over the past 20 years. Do you think that people have a right to determine whether they want a male or female child? Do you think the government should intervene?

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