India Official Saves Baby Girls By Shaming Parents Who Consider Abortion

By Gudrun Schultz

KHOTHRAN, Punjab, March 1, 2006 ( – An Indian official’s personal campaign to halt the disastrous abortion rates of baby girls in the Punjab state has been successful.

Khrishan Kumar, deputy commissioner in the Nawan Shahar district of Punjab state, began publicly shaming parents who aborted, or consider aborting, baby girls for no other reason than their gender.

“What kind of society are we building?” said Mr. Kumar, reported the Telegraph. “One without any girls? One where parents kill their own child in the womb just because she’s a girl?”

Ultrasounds for gender determination have been illegal in India since 1994, and gender abortion has been banned, but cultural preferences for male children overrides the laws. The Punjab is suffering from a drastic loss of female births—fewer than 600 girls are born for every 1,000 boys in the northern state. Normal ratios are 1,050 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Mr. Kumar started a list of women who had obtained ultrasounds or were known to be considering abortion, and then, along with a group of volunteers, staged surprise visits and phone calls to deter them. Public humiliation is a strong measure to embark on, but it is having an effect.

In December 2004, the birth rate in Khothran had risen to the equivalent of 787 girls for every 1,000 boys. By December 2005, the number was at 897.


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