Sunday, December 02, 2007

Britain's Missing Babies

Worrying new research reveals that between 1990 and 2005, about 1,500 fewer girls were born to Indian mothers living in England and Wales than would have been statistically probable for this group. Indeed, the Oxford University population expert who collated the information insists the discrepancy in birth ratios between boys and girls is too "sudden and pronounced to have a likely biological or environmental cause... the most probable explanation is sex-selective abortion". The revelation follows a three month investigation by a team from the highly-respected BBC Asian Network.

It is almost certainly a very conservative estimate, based solely on records for Indian-born women who moved to Britain, not Indian women born in Britain - for which data is not easily available. Behind the figures are heartbreaking stories of mothers in this country under pressure to have a son, being bullied by their husband and in-laws into aborting their daughters. Indian women in Britain it appears, are also travelling to the subcontinent to use the services of doctors such as Mangala Telang, who does not carry out terminations herself, but for 4,000 rupees (about £49), Dr Telang will tell you the sex of your unborn child and is happy to recommend someone who can terminate the pregnancy. It is illegal in India to use ultrasound scans for such a purpose - even in the UK it is the policy of most hospitals not to divulge this information until after the 24-week abortion limit.
Read more here.

Asian Network Report: Britain's Missing Girls, will be broadcast on BBC Asian Network digital radio.Britain's Missing Girls

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