Abortion of Girls on the Rise in India


A 2011 census shows that India has fewer and fewer girls, mostly because unborn female babies are being killed at a very high rate.

Many traditional Indian families do not want to have girls because they would have to give her husband’s family a large amount of money when she marries. These dowries, as they are called, have been banned since the 1960s, but still play a big part in Indian society. While Indian families think that only boys can preserve the family’s name and pride, a girl is often looked at as a burden. She goes off, gets married and enters another family.


Many pregnant women abort their unborn child as soon as they find out it is a girl. According to a study, up to 8 million unborn females may have been killed during the last ten years.

In 1961 there were 976 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of seven. 50 years later statistics show that this figure has dropped to 914 girls. Only China has an even lower ratio of boys to girls.

Human rights organizations are accusing the government of not doing enough to stop the abortion of girls. Abortion is legal in India up to the 12th week of pregnancy but the sex of a child can be determined only much later. In the past clinics that can determine the sex of a baby through ultrasound examinations have emerged. Some of them offer package prices for tests and immediate abortions if they show that a girl is on the way.

Especially when a family already has one girl chances are that a second pregnancy might be aborted if it the fetus is female. The abortion of girls is also higher among richer families and those living in cities.



Related Topics



  • abort = to kill the life of an unborn child through an operation
  • abortion = a medical operation that ends the life of an unborn child
  • according to = as said by …
  • accuse = blame, to point your finger at someone
  • amount = sum
  • ban = forbid
  • burden = trouble, problem
  • chances are = probably
  • determine = decide, find out
  • drop = go down
  • emerge = come up
  • especially = above all
  • female = relating to women or girls
  • fetus = unborn baby
  • figure = number
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • human rights = the most important rights that people have, like the right to speak freely or the right to vote
  • immediate = at once, quickly
  • legal = allowed
  • offer = give, present
  • package price = combined price for two things
  • pregnant = to have an unborn child growing in your body
  • preserve = keep, defend, hold on to
  • pride = to feel good about something
  • rate = speed
  • ratio = share, percentage
  • sex = if a person is male or female
  • society = people in general
  • study = a piece of work that is done to find out more facts about a subject
  • traditional = old-fashioned, conservative