January 22, 2006


Desperate British Asians fly to India to abort baby girls: Women refused terminations on the NHS are joining the millions of Indians who have surgery to uphold a sons-only tradition. (Dan McDougall, January 24, 2006, Observer)

Bringing up a girl, to quote a Punjabi saying, is like watering a neighbour's garden - and it is widely acknowledged that India's patriarchal society has long been based on a simple need for male heirs, often at the cost of unborn females, who are widely seen as little more than an economic burden.

As many as 13 million female foetuses may have been aborted in India in the past two decades following prenatal gender checks. Hi-tech mobile ultrasound technology, it seems, is responsible for sending millions of women to backstreet abortion clinics across the country.

But abortion of female foetuses has long been a part of life in Britain and The Observer has uncovered evidence that pregnant British Asian women, some in effect barred by the NHS after numerous abortions, are now coming to India for gender-defining ultrasounds and, if they are expecting girls, terminations.

The medical procedure is called partial-birth abortion. After around 24 weeks in the womb, two-thirds of a full-term pregnancy, the foetus is pulled from the mother feet first, up to the neck. The doctor then creates a hole in the skull to take out the brain, making it easier to collapse the head and take out the foetus.

Ask not what you can do for NARAL....

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 22, 2006 10:13 AM

More cafeteria culture.

They have grafted our technology and freedom of choice to a pre-Christian family system and produced a monstrosity.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 22, 2006 11:02 AM

The NHS can refuse to perform abortions? That's not something I would have expected. And Madonna thinks that England is more enlightened than the US.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at January 22, 2006 12:12 PM

Robert: Somehow in all the talk about enlightened foreign law no one ever mentions that our abortion law is about at the far extreme. It could hardly, after all, be any more extreme short of China's sub rosa policy of forced abortions.

Speaking of which, after Friday's Battlestar Galactica, which flirted with a forced abortion, commenters at Television Without Pity objected to the ultimate decision not to go ahead with the abortion as being "pro-life." The left may not, as they claim, love abortion, but they certainly act as if they do.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 22, 2006 1:15 PM

Couple comments: I remember when those 4D ultrasounds were coming out and people were talking about how they would help mother's identify with the babies and be less likely to abort. Well, one might point out that ultrasound proves them wrong here. I recall some articles about people aborting over cleft pallettes and other trivial concerns. Unfortunately for some mothers, these new techniques merely allow them to scrutinize their offspring closer than they could have before, to determine whether they're worthy of being born.

David, I listened to the podcast of that episode and the producers' concerns were more about stem cells than abortion. They were hoping to tie it in with current debate on the subject but couldn't figure a good way to write it, so just glossed over it with a blood transfusion. It also talked about liberal writing rooms and kept mentioning how odd it was to have the peace protestors viewed as antagonists. I was just thinking, "not that strange, no."

Posted by: RC at January 23, 2006 4:55 AM
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