By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  INDIA, March 7, 2008 ( – India’s crisis of sex-selective abortions has become so grave that the government has begun to offer close to $3,000 to poor families for each new female birth.

  The British medical journal, The Lancet, estimates that 10 million unborn females have been killed in the last twenty years by sex-selective abortion. About 500,000 are aborted annually.

  Despite India’s policy of prohibiting doctors from reporting the sex of a child to the parents before birth, the practice has continued.  Today only 927 females are born for every 1000 males in India, down from 945 girls for every 1000 boys in 1991, three years before the policy was implemented.  In the state most affected by the practice, Punjab, only 793 girls are born for every 1000 males.

  Sex selective abortion in India is fueled by economic and social factors.  While a male child is regarded as an economic benefit to the family, females are often seen as a loss.  Male children are more likely to earn money for the family and care for their parents in old age, while females leave the family at marriage, and must be accompanied by an often expensive dowry to complete the transfer.

  The almost $3,000 paid to qualifying families will be distributed in increments during the life of the child, subject to certain requirements.  The girls must be immunized, receive an education and proper nutrition, and avoid marriage until the age of 18, at which time a lump sum of almost $2,500 will be paid.  Authorities are reportedly hoping to save over 100,000 girls in the first year of the program.

  Although the program will only be available to poor families, it is generally believed that sex-selective abortions are more often chosen by wealthier families who have access to the ultrasound technology needed to determine the sex of their unborn child.  Punjab province, where the problem is most acute, is one of India’s wealthiest.

  In their report, “Women in an Insecure World”, the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) estimates that between 1.5 and 3 million girls are killed for sex-selective reasons each year, resulting in an accumulated worldwide “deficit” of 200 million women.  They refer to the phenomenon as “gendercide”.

  Related Links:

  Women in an Insecure World

  Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

“Gendercide” – Abortion and Infanticide of Girls Leading to Lop-Sided Demographics

  500,000 Girls Aborted Per Year in India new Study Finds

  India’s Top Court Bans Sex-Selection Abortion Advertising