India’s increasing wealth and improving literacy are apparently contributing to a national crisis of “missing girls,” with the number of sex-selective abortions up sharply among more affluent, educated families during the past two decades, according to a new study.
The study found the problem of sex-selective abortions of girls has spread steadily across India after once being confined largely to a handful of conservative northern states. Researchers also found that women from higher-income, better-educated families were far more likely than poorer women to abort a girl, especially during a second pregnancy if the firstborn was a girl.
It makes sense — wealthier families are the ones who are able to afford ultrasounds and selective abortions. Anti-choicers regularly use sex-selective abortions as an illustration of Why Abortion Is Bad, but really, the moral of the story is that this is Why Sexism Is Bad. If society was more fair to girls and women, and if girls and women had as many opportunities and privileges as men, and if girls weren’t socially required to be burdens on their families, we’d see a lot fewer sex-selective abortions. Just outlawing sex selection doesn’t solve the underlying problem.