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Where are those pro-lifers and their billboards when they are really needed?

Up to 12 million girls were aborted over the last three decades in India by parents that tended to be richer and more educated, a large study in India found, and researchers warned that the figure could rise with falling fertility rates.

The missing daughters occurred mostly in families which already had a first born daughter. Although the preference for boys runs across Indian society, the abortions were more likely to be carried out by educated parents who were aware of ultrasound technology and who could afford abortions.

“The number of girls being aborted is increasing and may have reached 12 million with the lower estimate of 4 million over the last three decades,” said lead author Professor Prabhat Jha at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto, Canada.

“The logic is families are saying if Nature gives us a first boy, then we don’t do anything. But if Nature gives a first girl then perhaps we would consider ultrasound testing and selective abortion for the subsequent children,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Jha said the preference for boys in Indian society remains firmly in place and the reason why abortions of female fetuses were occurring more among richer and educated parents was because they could afford to do so.

“The preference for boys doesn’t differ between rich and poor, it is similar. But the means to ensure a boy is greater among the educated and the rich,” Jha said.

Sounds like absolute lunacy, right? Like something out of some futuristic SyFy movie? It could get way worse.

Jha and his colleagues, who published their study in The Lancet, said abortion of girls in India was different from the situation in China, where a one-child policy results in even abortions of the first girl.

“In India, we don’t see that yet and there is no required one-child policy. But the concern is that if urban women decide they only want one child, then this practice may spread from second or third child to the first, so this is a future risk that we have identified,” Jha said.

“There were 4 million to 12 million selective abortions from 1980 to 2010 and just in the last decade, about 3 to 6 million, so the problem is increasing,” Jha said.

The study was conducted using data gathered from the pregnancies and lives of 300,000 women.

Believe it or not, the Indian government is trying to do something about this situation. They’ve been trying for 15 years, as a matter of fact: in 1996, they passed a law banning the use of ultrasounds to tell parents the sex of their unborn baby. Unfortunately, the government has a hard time regulating private medical practices.

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