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Indian born women in England and Wales aborting girls.

The BBC investigation for BBC Asian Network's 'Asian Network Report' (digital radio, 18.30 Monday, 3rd Dec) reveals how 'sex selective abortion’ – a practice outlawed in India in the 80s, but still widespread there – is being used by some Indian women in England and Wales.

  • This is a taboo subject, but for the first time a British-born mother, who has three daughters, admits she terminated her latest pregnancy last year 

Speaking anonymously, ‘Meena’, an office worker in her 30’s, tells the Asian Network Report she had no difficulty in finding a gynaecologist in Delhi to do a scan to establish the sex of the baby and then to have the abortion – both illegal. “Me and my husband decided to go to India and try and find out what we were having and unfortunately it was another girl.  My husband and I thought the burden would probably be too much. So we decided to terminate”.  

 

  • New research reveals that between 1990 and 2005 almost 1,500 fewer girls were born to Indian mothers, in England and Wales, than would have been expected  for that group. The discrepancy in birth ratios between girls and boys is most apparent amongst those mothers having their third or fourth child
The report's author, Oxford University human geographer and population expert Sylvie Dubuc, was surprised by her findings. Dr Dubuc, talking exclusively to the BBC said 'What I have found is that the proportion of boys over girls has increased over time… its increased in a way that’s not normal. The most probable explanation seems to be sex selective abortion by minority of mothers born in India”

 

The 1500 figure represents one in ten girls ‘missing’ from the birth statistics for Indian born mothers having their third or fourth child 

 

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    In an undercover investigation the BBC sent a pregnant British Indian women to several top doctors in Delhi asking for a gender scan – three doctors agreed, in the full knowledge that she would abort the child if it was a girl.    

Foetal surgeon, and anti-foeticide campaigner Dr Puneed Bedi said that British Indian women are coming in large numbers:  Most people who come back home to their relatives here find the right doctors with the right connections to do the foeticide.' 

You can listen to the full investigation on Asian Network Report: Britain’s Missing Girls an undercover investigation into the practice of female foeticide : on BBC Asian Network digital radio at 18.30 Monday 3rd December.

 

Listen on  digital TV (Sky channel 0119, freeview channel 709, Virgin Media channel 912), digital radio and online at bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork