Sex-Selective Abortion in India: Gender, Society and New Reproductive Technologies

Sex-Selective Abortion in India: Gender, Society and New Reproductive Technologies

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No one can doubt the great importance of the subject that is addressed in this book namely, the decision by prospective parents to… abort [the fetus] if the outcome [of sex determination test] points to the birth of a baby girl…. The editor is to be commended greatly for making this volume possible, and the contributors are to be thanked for the insight that their writings contain. If there is any hope of influencing events so that the practice of female-specific abortion disappears, then it must be based on increased understanding of the kind that is provided for us here.”

—Tim Dyson, from the Foreword

Is modern India going gender-awry, especially as society seems to turn against the female baby and fetus? This volume raises the emotive issue of millions of girls in India who fail to appear on the social scene, not figuratively, but in real demographic terms.

The contributors to this volume, all distinguished demographers and/or social scientists, describe the political economy of sentiments and sexual mores that lead parents to kill unborn daughters. In doing so, they ably unravel the values, principles, and practices behind the depleting child sex ratio in India.

The volume examines the ways in which reproductive technologies such as the ultrasound are misused at the family, community, and state levels. In this alarming scenario, it highlights both the participation and defiance of the various authorities dealing with reproduction, health services, and the problem of female feticide. Their engagement with the state is analyzed in the light of colonial policies, the law of adoption, health policies, family planning programs, and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994 and its amendment in 2002.

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