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Sex-Selective Abortion in India

Sex-Selective Abortion in India
Gender, Society and New Reproductive Technologies

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Tulsi Patel - Department of Sociology, University of Delhi, India

December 2006 | 432 pages | SAGE India

"No one can doubt the great importance of the subject that is addressed in this book – namely, the decision by prospective parents to... abort [the fetus] if the outcome [of sex determination test] points to the birth of a baby girl.... The editor is to be commended greatly for making this volume possible, and the contributors are to be thanked for the insight that their writings contain. If there is any hope of influencing events so that the practice of female-specific abortion disappears, then it must be based on increased understanding of the kind that is provided for us here."

—Tim Dyson, from the Foreword

Is modern India going gender-awry, especially as society seems to turn against the female baby and fetus? This volume raises the emotive issue of millions of girls in India who fail to appear on the social scene, not figuratively, but in real demographic terms.

The contributors to this volume, all distinguished demographers and/or social scientists, describe the political economy of sentiments and sexual mores that lead parents to kill unborn daughters. In doing so, they ably unravel the values, principles, and practices behind the depleting child sex ratio in India.

The volume examines the ways in which reproductive technologies such as the ultrasound are misused at the family, community, and state levels. In this alarming scenario, it highlights both the participation and defiance of the various authorities dealing with reproduction, health services, and the problem of female feticide. Their engagement with the state is analyzed in the light of colonial policies, the law of adoption, health policies, family planning programs, and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994 and its amendment in 2002.

Foreword Tim Dyson
Tulsi Patel
Introduction: Gender Relations, NRTs and Female Foeticide in India
Leela Visaria
Deficit of Girls in India: Can it be Attributed to Female Selective Abortion?
Ashish Bose
Female Foeticide: A Civilisational Collapse
Rainuka Dagar
Rethinking Female Foeticide: Perspective and Issues
Tulsi Patel
The Mindset behind Eliminating the Female Foetus
Alpana D. Sagar
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Social Context of the Missing Girl Child
Reema Bhatia
Health Policy, Plan and Implementation: The Role of Health Workers in Altering the Sex Ratio
Rashmi Kapoor
Adoption: Born to Live
L. S. Vishwanath
Female Infanticide, Property and the Colonial State
Vibhuti Patel
The Political Economy of Missing Girls in India
Tulsi Patel
Female Foeticide, Family Planning and State-Society Intersection in India

"Sex-Selective Abortion in India examines the problem, detaining the numbers and placing the figures within their cultural and historical context."

Jeffery L. Ecker, M.D.
Massachusets General Hospital

The book is a commendable piece of work highlighting the problem of sex ratio and sex selective abortion in India. It clearly addresses the nexus among culture, society and new reproductive technologies and opens up enormous possibilities for fresh theorization on sex ratio within the fertility family, planning, society and new reproductive technologies framework.

Journal of Health Studies

This collection of 11 essays unravels the reasons for the depleting the child sex ratio in India.

This is timely book on an important issue that is caentre-stage since the 2001 census, namely the disappearance of baby girls.

The Book Reviews

Sex Selective Abortion in India is an overt delineation of the abhorrent practice of selecting a child’s sex….This is an eye opener book. It throws light on the hierarchical society and the preference for sons present in Indian society since times immemorial.


This scholarly volume addresses the ‘national emergency’ of declining sex ratio in India from 1901 to 2007. At the same time it increases understanding on a hugely important and challenging subject of femali-specific abortion

One World South Asia

The book is a commendable piece of work in highlighting the problem of sex ratio and sex selective abortion in India. Most of the chapters attest the modern practice of sex selective abortion in the northern india. The book clearly addresses culture, society and new reproductive technologies nexus and opens up enornous possibility of fresh theorization on sex ratio within the fertility family, planning, society and new reproductive technologies framework.

eSS Book Review

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ISBN: 9780761935391

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