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Men will outnumber women in India by 20% in 2030

Catholic World News - March 16, 2011

An international study has found that the prevalence of sex-selection abortion in India is causing a severe shortage of young women, and by the year 2030 there will be 20% fewer women than men in the country.

The report by international health experts published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirms the grim reality on gender prejudice in India. Already, in some parts of the country, there are 800 girls born for every 1,000 boys, due to the heavy cultural preference for male children.

India’s federal government has acknowledged that 10 million young girls are “missing” due to female feticide in the past two decades. Although sex-selection abortion is illegal, the ban has failed to stop the practice in a country where abortion is available on demand, and parents who learn the sex of an unborn child can opt for abortion without disclosing a reason.

The preference for boys and prejudice against girl children is rooted in Hindu cultural bias that one cannot attain moksha (liberation) unless he has a son to perform his last rites, as mandated by Hindu scriptures. This religious sanction, rendering a girl child "unwanted," subsequently gave birth to a dowry system that imposes heavy costs on the parents of a bride, thus making a girl an economic liability for the family.

The international study of demographic shifts in childbirth covered China and South Korea as well as India. “A consistent pattern in all three countries is the marked trend related to birth order and the influence of the sex of the preceding child,” said Therese Hesketh, one of the authors of the study.

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