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(LifeSiteNews) — Indian police arrested a doctor and his assistant late last month, the most recent in a string of arrests after law enforcement cracked down on a sex-selective abortion “racket” to illegally identify and kill unwanted baby girls. The practice is common in Asia, where a strong cultural preference for boys has led to the slaughter of millions of preborn little girls.

​​Bengaluru police arrested Dr. Chandan Ballal and lab technician Nisar on November 27 after several earlier arrests in connection to an alleged “sex-determination and female foeticide racket” in and around the southern India city of Mysuru.

Police took two individuals into custody in October, identified as Shivalinge Gowda and Nayan Kumar, who had been transporting a pregnant woman for an abortion, according to the Hindustan Times

The pair reportedly revealed during police interrogation that participants in the “racket” were operating an ultrasound center out of a jaggery unit – sugar processing plant – in nearby Mandya to help expecting women learn the sex of their unborn baby. Authorities later arrested a hospital manager and a receptionist, and most recently, Dr. Ballal and his lab technician.

READ: India’s pro-life movement gains momentum ahead of its second March for Life

A senior police officer cited by local media outlets said that the “[p]reliminary enquiry has revealed that in the last three years, the accused doctor along with his accomplices have managed to perform around 900 illegal abortions at the Mysuru Hospital and charged about 30,000 [$360] for each abortion.”

While ultrasound technology is often hailed by western pro-life advocates for proving the humanity of unborn babies, it has a dark side in India. Its use to disclose the sex of a preborn baby is illegal because of its potential to lead to sex-selective abortions.

According to a report published in 2021 by the University of Berkeley’s Public Health Advocate, “Female feticide based on sex-determination testing… skyrocketed in India around the 1990s when ultrasound technology became widespread among upper-class and upper-caste society members.”

The Indian government responded to the surge by banning the practice via the 1994 Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, but the use of ultrasounds for sex-selective abortions has continued in spite of the law due in part to deep and lasting cultural preferences for male children.

“Despite the illegality of sex determination testing in India, this policy’s efficacy varied upon jurisdictional enforcement, which resulted in the continuation of mass sex-selective testing and abortions,” the Public Health Advocate noted.

The practice has had stark consequences.

According to the report, “it is estimated that there will be 6.8 million fewer female births by 2030, precisely due to the consistent practice of sex-selective abortions.”

“Women are murdered all over the world. But in India a most brutal form of killing females takes place regularly, even before they have the opportunity to be born,” Dr. Nehaluddin Ahmad wrote in a 2010 report. “Female feticide – the selective abortion of female fetuses – is killing upwards of one million females in India annually with far-ranging and tragic consequences.”

READ: India’s abortion rate is 20 times higher than estimates, but there’s a push for even more liberal laws

Society for the Production of Unborn Children, a United Kingdom-based pro-life organization, responded to news of the crackdown on the Indian doctor and his alleged accomplices by decrying sex-selective abortion and drawing attention to the “destruction” wrought by the “abortion industry” even in places like the UK. 

“Unborn girls are the number one target of abortion around the world, especially in India and China, while mothers also come under huge pressure to abort babies labeled ‘undesirable’ by society,” the group said.

“At a time when human beings are increasingly treated like commodities, unborn babies considered to be faulty in some way, or just unwanted, are coming under even greater threat from abortion,” SPUC continued.

The pro-life organization pointed out that “the same abortion ethic that led to the killing of 900 babies in India is also at work in the U.K., where the right to life has similarly been denied to the unborn, innocent lives that are singled out for destruction ever more fervently by the abortion industry.”

Some 13.5 million baby girls have reportedly been “missing at birth” in India between 1987 and 2016, leading pro-life groups to deduce that millions of baby girls have been killed in the womb. The problem of sex-selective abortion based upon preference for boys is persistent throughout Asia, where men in China and India currently outnumber women by 70 million.