The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

The 'back-street abortion' lives in India

A modicum of fuss in Blighty this week over the release of Vera Drake, an evocative flick set in 1950 [1] about an improbably saintly practitioner in the field.

I happen upon a thesis Son Preference and Sex Selection Among Hindus in India by Sherry Sineath, the USP of which is that it examines the roots of the problem of the missing females in the teachings of the Hindu religion.

And I don't get far into it (the note on page 5) to find a quote from a WHO report:
It is believed that roughly 6.7 million induced abortions are performed annually in India, even though only about 632,000 are reported in government statistics.

The other six million are evidently illegal - or, at least, off the books.

Now, Indian demographics - in particular, as they evidence the disadvantage suffered by females - are a relatively hot topic (the literature is abundant) that has certainly entered the realm of conventional wisdom.

But, so far as I'm aware, the hecatomb of the Indian unborn has yet to excite much interest. (This despite the extraterritorial interest of US anti-abortion groups, as evidenced by the Mexico City Policy [2].)

Needless to say, Indian demography defies analysis by talking-point: of the papers I've glanced at, this one (PDF) - Intensifying Sex Ratios in India: New Evidence 1981-1991 by Sudha and Rajan seems to give the most comprehensive and readable introduction to the topic. It also has stats broken down by state.

  1. Interminably oppressive, dull and miserable (as I've heard) - perfect for the period!

  2. Interesting pieces here and here. Anti-abortion Congressmen meddling in Uruguay, just one example.

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