Women in India face having abortion pills ‘forced down’ their throats if their unborn child isn’t a boy, reports claim.
Horrifying statistics show that up to 46 million foetuses in the country have suffered the fate over the last 50 years – this is around ten times the female population of London.
The grim issue is so bad that victims even recall being forcefully drugged throughout pregnancy in the hope of producing a boy.
One woman, Laali, told The Guardian that after she was made to take the pill her legs were drenched in blood and she thought she would die.
“Families want a son at any cost. Any cost!” she said.
“My mother-in-law refused to see my daughter’s face. She refused to take care of me, saying, ‘you are giving birth to girl after girl. How far can I take care of you?’
“My family abused me in front of my girls.”
Violence against women is a massive problem in Indian society, which can be extremely sexist and patriarchal.
Since women are expected to leave the family home after they get married, the cost and effort of raising a girl can be seen as an unwanted obligation.
Experts behind a research paper into the grim issue said: “Families let nature decide twice, but then – for the third time – they make sure it is a boy.
“Violence against women is a cultural thing in India. The problem is going to get much worse before it might get better.”
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Although it is illegal to determine the sex of a child before birth in the country, it is a law that is regularly ignored.
Some backstreet doctors and private clinics offer families the procedure, and the mothers are given little choice but to obey.
The government has been accused of failing to act and some researchers reckon there will be another 6.8 million less female births across India by 2030 because of the selective abortion culture.
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