March 5, 2024

India’s sex ratio

Hi there, 

There can be no bioethical issue which commands such universal support as the evil of gendercide. In many countries, girls are aborted or killed at birth because of a deep-seated preference for boys to carry on the family name. The issue is critical in South Korea, Vietnam, China, and most famously, India.

Across the ideological spectrum, the great and good staunchly oppose sex-selective abortion: the government, feminists, human rights groups, religious groups, the United Nations, UNICEF, economists, the media…. Yet couples and doctors still collude in the deaths of girls. The latest figures from India’s 2010 census show that the ratio of girls to boys between the ages of 0 and 6 continues to drop. (See figures below.)

Outrage is pointless. Obviously a deep cultural change is needed, despite India’s vibrant cultural life and economic dynamism. Any ideas?

On a similar front, we report on Rwanda’s drive to give 700,000 men vasectomies to curb population growth. Indira Gandhi tried this during the 1970s and it helped to scupper her government. I wonder if Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, is aware of that.

Michael Cook