Where have all the young girls gone?

Feb 10, 2011
Where have all the young girls gone?

The widespread availability of ultrasound scans in India is giving rise to abortions of female foetuses on an unprecedented scale, according to new research by Professor Sonia Bhalotra from the University’s Center for Market and Public Organization.

Her study of ‘sex-selective’ abortion in India reveals that nearly half a million girls are aborted each year, which is more than the number of girls born annually in Britain. The practice is concentrated among relatively rich and educated Hindu families. According to Professor Bhalotra, this is consistent with ‘modern’ women being more receptive to new technologies and their wanting to have fewer children. She also suggests that Muslim women may have a stronger abhorrence of abortion.

Before this study, there was considerable anecdotal evidence of girl abortion in India, but no direct records of the practice. Using information on half a million births in India over more than three decades, this research identifies a dramatic decrease in the ratio of girls to boys being born after, and only after, the arrival of ultrasound machines in India.

It finds that families with a firstborn son have less of an incentive to engage in sex selection than families with a firstborn daughter. The strategy of comparing the ratio of girl to boy births in the population before and after the arrival of ultrasound, and in families with and without a firstborn son takes out of the equation factors other than foeticide that might influence the sex ratio at birth.

Sex-selective abortion is illegal in India since 1996 but it is continuing at an increasing pace. Ultrasound scanners are getting smaller and more mobile and a scan costs about £10, which is inexpensive for the rich and affordable for the poor. Advertisements in rural areas highlight how small this sum is relative to the cost of dowry. Ultrasound technology is improving continuously, enabling more reliable resolution of the foetal image earlier in pregnancy.

The research also shows that parents are conducting prenatal sex selection even after they have one son. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the ideal family structure for Indian families is to have two boys and one girl.

Son preference is an old tradition in and other parts of Asia. Previously, poor families with limited resources for food and health care prioritised their sons because sons deliver later-life advantages such as old-age security. This has, over the centuries, led to a gradual erosion of the share of girls and women in society through neglect. This research suggests a new characterisation of the problem: girls from richer families are now being eliminated before birth on an unprecedented scale.

The scale of the problem suggests a future of unmarried men at the bottom of the socio-economic distribution, increasing violence against women and other ills of an unbalanced society.

Professor Bhalotra comments:

"While the availability of ultrasound scans plays a crucial role in enabling girl abortion, it also plays a positive role in improving pre-natal care.

"The use of ultrasound for sex-selective touches on many of the dilemmas of modern times, including the ethics of scientific progress. It also raises wider issues of gender inequality, human rights and freedom of choice."

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Eikka
3.3 / 5 (9) Feb 10, 2011
On the other hand, it curbs population growth by reducing the number of people who can reproduce.

To each cloud there's a silver lining.
JRDarby
3.8 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2011
The population of India is 1.15 billion so overpopulation is definitely a huge concern. But then again, so is a disproportionate number of young males: it's a recipe for war in 20-30 years.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (23) Feb 10, 2011
The population of India is 1.15 billion so overpopulation is definitely a huge concern. But then again, so is a disproportionate number of young males: it's a recipe for war in 20-30 years.
Not necessarily. Eikka is right, and the main generator of war is overpopulation. If the pop level remains below the threshold of instability, it shouldnt matter too much what the mix is.

The 1 child per family law in china has the same benefit in reducing the number of females.

This doesnt make sense:
"The scale of the problem suggests a future of unmarried men at the bottom of the socio-economic distribution, increasing violence against women and other ills of an unbalanced society."

-If anything it would increase violence among men in competition for women? But as these societies become increasingly westernized, and people have rewarding alternatives to raising families, this shouldnt be an enduring problem.
Deadbolt
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2011
It actually makes more sense to want more daughters than males, since males are more expendable. One male can impregnate as many potential women as he can successfully copulate with, whereas a woman can only be made pregnant once every 9 months.

Happy societies have more women than men, since men need women more than women need men. Nowadays, anyway.
panorama
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
ht_DELETE_tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A0Tr-8eCBQ

It's all great, but 2:03 is what I think of every time I hear the word abortion.
PPihkala
4.8 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2011
One thing driving this selection practice is dowry that needs to be payed when daughters are married. As long as that practice stays, there will be a drive to avoid this burden by selecting against daughters.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (16) Feb 10, 2011
the main generator of war is overpopulation.

NOPE.
A free and prosperous people can grow in population and wealth peacefully. War is caused by govts, not prosperous people.
Bob_Kob
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2011
Sucks to be them, means a lot are going to be missing out.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Feb 11, 2011
Once again the feminists are no where to be heard. They 'won' the right to kill their babies and now the world is killing female babies in greater proportions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (29) Feb 11, 2011
Once again the feminists are no where to be heard. They 'won' the right to kill their babies and now the world is killing female babies in greater proportions.
No dear, religionists are causing the need for abortion by insisting that adherents produce more offspring than they can provide for. Where do you think all the immigrants that you loathe come from? Their world is overcrowded and now they're coming to fill up yours. Just like their god tells them to. Too bad.
eigenbasis
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
Its too bad all these men will live shorter lives because of less women around: physorg dot com/news/2010-10-shorten-life-span.html
jjoensuu
5 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2011
No dear, religionists are causing the need for abortion by insisting that adherents produce more offspring than they can provide for.


In some cases true. I had a friend in Netherlands who once told me that his parents had never planned to have kids but had one (him) because the local Catholic priest went around knocking on peoples door telling them to do so. I guess that was a way to "grow the church"...after all nearly half of Netherlands is Protestant...

Anyway I think in India part of the problem is also the Hindu religion and the ideas it has produced throughout the centuries about women (not necessarily that someone is telling people to procreate). After all the article refers to rich families aborting females.
nada
5 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2011
the main generator of war is overpopulation.

NOPE.
A free and prosperous people can grow in population and wealth peacefully. War is caused by govts, not prosperous people.


LOL, now yer just full of crap today, aren'cha! That's the lamest line of oral defication I ever did read.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (24) Feb 11, 2011
@jj
Religions demand it. Their books are full of it. 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill up the earth!' they all say. Fundamentalists, islamists in particular at the moment, will let their women do little else but make and raise children.

Appearance is standardized as much as possible; women are covered. There will be no flirting or trading up, no jealousy or mistrust to destabilize the family unit. One person is pretty much the same as the next, 90% dogma 10% personality, all have the sacred duty to procreate for Allah. Etc.

This is a strategy conquest, of aggressive reproduction, of turning minorities into majorities. What Teddy Roosevelt called warfare of the cradle.
nada
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 11, 2011
Once again the feminists are no where to be heard. They 'won' the right to kill their babies and now the world is killing female babies in greater proportions.


Did you hit your head? You must be a tea-bagger. Go back down the rabbit hole to your queen Palin.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Feb 11, 2011
Once again the feminists are no where to be heard. They 'won' the right to kill their babies and now the world is killing female babies in greater proportions.


Did you hit your head? You must be a tea-bagger. Go back down the rabbit hole to your queen Palin.

So you think a group that claims to support women should not be concerned that Indians and Chinese are killing women? Or, maybe it is a tactic so that all those men will have to choose a feminists for a wife.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (20) Feb 11, 2011
Once again the feminists are no where to be heard. They 'won' the right to kill their babies and now the world is killing female babies in greater proportions.


Did you hit your head? You must be a tea-bagger. Go back down the rabbit hole to your queen Palin.
Marjon is right however, in that the womans lib movement which eventually resulted in legalized abortion, disproportionately reduced their numbers worldwide. The bulk of the ONE BILLION abortions committed have taken place within these residual male-preferring cultures, thereby reducing growth even further. As if it was Planned that way.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (20) Feb 11, 2011
all those men will have to choose a feminists for a wife
Oh yuk, most would rather stay single, or wouldn't remain married for long. Thereby reducing growth EVEN more. Brilliant.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (6) Feb 12, 2011
So you think a group that claims to support women should not be concerned that Indians and Chinese are killing women? Or, maybe it is a tactic so that all those men will have to choose a feminists for a wife.
I don't think you grasp how sexist and biggotted this comment is Marjon.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Feb 12, 2011
So you think a group that claims to support women should not be concerned that Indians and Chinese are killing women? Or, maybe it is a tactic so that all those men will have to choose a feminists for a wife.
I don't think you grasp how sexist and biggotted this comment is Marjon.


Where is the feminist outrage for an entire culture to be killing their women?
Or did the feminists blow a gasket trying to support a woman's right to choose to kill her daughter, but not her son?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Feb 12, 2011
"has Ms. magazine felt anything even close to “the magnitude of the problem”?

Their feminist ideology does not even allow them to acknowledge that sex-selection abortions are perfectly legal in the United States, and that feminists have insisted that any woman has a right to an abortion at any time for any reason or for no stated reason at all. The pro-abortion ideology is so extreme that any opposition to the targeting of girls by sex-selection abortion is undermined by the movement’s enthusiasm for unfettered abortion rights.

The moral bankruptcy of their situation is revealed by the tepid language employed in the article and the lack of moral outrage. But how can Ms. muster any genuine outrage about sex-selection abortions in India when it has demanded unfettered abortion access in our own country? It cannot, and it does not. This monumental tragedy is described only as “the problem.”"
http:/www.lifesitenews.com/news/moral-collapse-at-ms-magazine-sex-selection-abortion-as-a-probl
Chemstudent
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2011
I think you guys are seriously overestimating the numbers of these terrible feminists you all keep going on about. Judging by what I read here I would think they are on every street corner shouting for the downfall of men or something.

You think any abortion rights supporter cares who aborts who? No. You think I care that girls are being aborted more than boys? It's not a personal offense to me. What is a personal offense to me is people insisting that women don't have the right to do what they want with their body, or are forced to marry at 14 or whatever they do in those old societies. Let them do what they want with their own society, and with their own bodies. I think a reduction in population growth is probably a good thing for them at this point.
nononoplease
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2011
Yes, let them do what they want with their bodies--how about they start by closing their legs? "Gee looks like I need to get another abortion.... how come? Oh, maybe because I slept with every vaguely phallic object under the sun. Well, it's my body, so I'll just have the brain vacuumed out of the genetically unique organism inside of me. Then I'll go back to sleeping with everything that moves. Isn't life fulfilling?"
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Feb 13, 2011
I think a reduction in population growth is probably a good thing for them at this point.

Let's follow the model of 'Logan's Run'. Execute everyone when they turn 21.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2011
What is a personal offense to me is people insisting that women don't have the right to do what they want with their body, or are forced to marry at 14 or whatever they do in those old societies.
And this is the whole reason why you see the abortion of girls rather than boys. Conservative views of patriarchy and male dominance.

The Chinese and Indians wouldn't be aborting women rather than men if it wasn't for conservate patriarchy.
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
And this is the whole reason why you see the abortion of girls rather than boys. Conservative views of patriarchy and male dominance.

True enough, but today it's probably more due to financial considerations, both present (dowry expenses) and future benefits (from male offspring) in an impoverished environment.

Of course, you could tie that back in to an entrenched conservative patriarchy which led to these customs, but regardless of origin, I think the contemporary push factors are more financial than ideological.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2011
Of course, you could tie that back in to an entrenched conservative patriarchy which led to these customs, but regardless of origin, I think the contemporary push factors are more financial than ideological.
Absolutely agreed, but so is Conservatism on the whole. Typically the more conservative view is hinged on a fear of being without. The research shows that the more destitute you are, the more likely you are to stick to what you know than what you don't.
frajo
5 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2011
As usual, Westerners making statements about China are driven more often by propaganda than by facts. While the gender disparity does exist in China, the cultural background is different from India's Hindu dominated system. China's government is quite actively fighting the old traditions and intends to reverse the gender imbalance.
More details can be found in the article "China bans selective abortion to fix imbalance" on
chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-07/16/
content_349051.htm .
Now, this article is more than six years old and we don't know how successful the Chinese government's efforts are. One should assume, however, that there has been at least some success - as usually there.
Mesafina
5 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2011
@ryggesogn2 If it does not have a brain yet it can't feel pain and does not have a mind. Killing something without a brain is not murder imo, nor do I have any moral qualms with it. Why do you? You eat meat I assume, and most meat we eat had a brain, so you clearly have no problem killing sentient creatures if that is true. So why the big fuss over killing nonsentient creatures? Granted I am against late-term abortions personally but that's just a fraction of all abortions.
ScientistAmauterEnthusiast
5 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2011
Why do people against abortions try to argue with people who want and fought for their choice? Clearly the two sides see it different ways, every possible argument has been made, you are either for choice, or against it, it would seem.

ABORTION IS MURDER! oh my, you just totally convinced everyone with your well thought out argument.

MY BODY, MY CHOICE! Well, someone who has the above opinion totally just came over to your side...

Personally i'm for choice, but arguing on a comment board isn't going to change attitudes.
ScientistAmauterEnthusiast
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2011
Yes, let them do what they want with their bodies--how about they start by closing their legs? "Gee looks like I need to get another abortion.... how come? Oh, maybe because I slept with every vaguely phallic object under the sun. Well, it's my body, so I'll just have the brain vacuumed out of the genetically unique organism inside of me. Then I'll go back to sleeping with everything that moves. Isn't life fulfilling?"


Out of the people I know who have had abortions young, it's because of failed contraceptive in long term relationships, the older people I know who had abortions are mostly due to birth defects. Also you used a blanket statement about girls getting abortions being sluts, that is so offensive and not a constructive thing to say. I'm not interested on changing your view on abortion, but the way you paint people who get them, you should be ashamed.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 13, 2011
China's government is quite actively fighting the old traditions and intends to reverse the gender imbalance.

Have they anticipated all the unintended consequences this time?
soulman
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
While the gender disparity does exist in China, the cultural background is different from India's Hindu dominated system. China's government is quite actively fighting the old traditions and intends to reverse the gender imbalance.

That's great, but the same 'policy' was introduced in India, and it seems to be failing spectacularly. From the article:
Sex-selective abortion is illegal in India since 1996 but it is continuing at an increasing pace.

I suppose China has a bigger whip (axe?) to wield to ensure compliance...
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
"-If anything it would increase violence among men in competition for women? But as these societies become increasingly westernized, and people have rewarding alternatives to raising families, this shouldnt be an enduring problem."

Fail. Don't know what alternate universe your living in but in this one, just look at what is going on in parts of Asia where there is already a distortion. Women are regularly kidnapped and sold.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
I wonder if the world would be a better place if every guy had 3 girls blowing him off everyday.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
Sex-selective abortion is illegal in India since 1996 but it is continuing at an increasing pace.
I suppose China has a bigger whip (axe?) to wield to ensure compliance...
This is the Western picture. Which is inevitably distorted by decades of political propaganda pro India and anti China.
No, the cultures simply are too different. The lack of education and the amount of superstition especially in rural regions is huge in both countries. But when it comes to modern legislation trying to reverse the gender disparity, the Indian mindset is dominated by Hindu (essentially caste) culture as can be seen from the fact that the wealthy Indians contribute their even share to the disparity
while the Chinese mindset traditionally associates the government with the powers of heaven which of course favours legislation.
soulman
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
This is the Western picture. Which is inevitably distorted by decades of political propaganda pro India and anti China.

I'll thank you not to assume my level of comprehension of the Sino-Indian political systems. Nothing you have said changes my above sentiment.
frajo
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
Nothing you have said changes my above sentiment.
Why should a change of sentiment be of any concern?
soulman
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
Why should a change of sentiment be of any concern?

It is of no concern.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2011
Gee looks like I need to get another abortion.... how come? Oh, maybe because I slept with every vaguely phallic object under the sun.


Have you ever met an Indian person? They have one of the least promiscuous cultures I know of. Unmarried pregnancy is still a very bad thing there, unlike it is here. But, despite our aparent lack of culture, our population growth isn't nearly what theirs is. I don't think you can blame the abortion rate in India (or China) on the women there being sluts. I just don't think that's the case compared to other places. In fact, it probably has more to do with the dominant males wanting to preserve their family name and have heirs, rather than having to provide a dowery to preserve someone elses family name.
Otto_the_Magnificent
4.3 / 5 (16) Feb 14, 2011
"-If anything it would increase violence among men in competition for women? But as these societies become increasingly westernized, and people have rewarding alternatives to raising families, this shouldnt be an enduring problem."

Fail. Don't know what alternate universe your living in but in this one, just look at what is going on in parts of Asia where there is already a distortion. Women are regularly kidnapped and sold.
Your comment makes little sense and seems to have little to do with mine. Are you saying theyre being kidnapped where there are already too few of them, or where there is a supposed surplus due to widespread poverty and overpopulation in general?

Are you saying that they are being kidnapped from 3rd world cultures and sold in prosperous, westernized asian cultures to men who want a hobby? Or are you saying something different? Please make sense this time.
Otto_the_Magnificent
4.1 / 5 (14) Feb 14, 2011
Have you ever met an Indian person? They have one of the least promiscuous cultures I know of. Unmarried pregnancy is still a very bad thing there, unlike it is here.
India has the 2nd largest pop in the world. It is a very big place with over 1000 languages and a wide range of traditions, including some as bizarre as this:

"Some women and girls are by tradition born into prostitution to support the family. The Bachara, for example, follow this tradition with eldest daughters often expected to be prostitutes."

-AIDS has found its way into the traditional family unit in some regions due to the tradition of husbands being free to visit brothels.

Traditional religion-based families generally encourage many offspring. Western cultures offer alternatives to this which can have the effect of limiting family size. Promiscuity in any culture is dangerous for many reasons. With sexual freedom comes the implied responsibility to use protection. Abortion is never safe for a woman.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2011
The Indian caste system also has families of rat catchers. They earn their living trapping. Part of their compensation is they get to eat the rats.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2011
The Indian caste system also has families of rat catchers. They earn their living trapping. Part of their compensation is they get to eat the rats.


The documentaries I've seen about that said that the rat catchers are mostly farmers who come into the city with a wagon in order to make extra cash. They turn in the rats for a bounty. As I understand it, part of the problem is that it is seen as politically incorrect to kill the rats because so many city people are Hindu. That's part of the reason they have outsiders doing it for money.