Pregnant Women Volunteer to Prevent Sex-Selective Abortion in India

Being pregnant can be scary enough. Your hormones are changing drastically so you find yourself moody, craving strange foods, nauseous, gaining weight, feeling aches and pains in places you never had pain before, forgetting things you never had trouble remembering, or falling asleep on the couch at 6:30 in the evening because you are downright exhausted. This is all aside from the fact that you are now solely responsible for the wellbeing of your unborn child; you have to eat right, stay away from physically harmful situations, and try not to stress out too much. No pressure, right?

As if that pressure weren’t enough, some pregnant women in India are volunteering to go into certain clinics, pretend they want an abortion if the sex of their fetus is female, and call an investigative team in to arrest the practitioners willing to perform the sex-selective abortion.

These women, who are pregnant, will schedule an appointment with a doctor suspected of providing sex-selective abortions. They will tell the doctor that they want an abortion if their unborn child is female. If the doctors agree to the procedure, the women will call a team to the hospital, and that team will do an investigation. After the doctors have been arrested, the women will serve as witnesses against them at their trial. All of this is incredibly brave, especially considering they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but the lives of their unborn children, too.

Sex-selective abortion has been illegal in India since 1994. In fact, it is a federal law. However, there are still many practitioners who are willing to perform such abortions, especially in rural areas, and the number is rising. According to Women’s E-News, before 2010, 54 sex-selection cases had been filed. By July 2013, however, the number jumped to 562.

In the state of Rajasthan, most people prefer sons, which means that, as of 2011, they have a child sex ratio of 888 girls for every 1000 boys. In 2001, they had 946 girls for every 1000 boys. Doubting that this was just the luck of the draw, women in Rajasthan have been risking their lives, and those of their unborn children, to bring these doctors to justice. Because of their bravery, the Rajasthan medical council has brought charges against 153 practitioners and suspended 23 doctors’ licenses because they had been willing to perform sex-selective abortions.

In order to ensure their safety, the state of Rajasthan has an entire police station that is devoted just to handling these charges. They also never release the names of the women who go undercover; doing so could truly put their lives in danger. Most doctors who have been arrested on these charges make bail easily and are out on the streets in a short time. Furthermore, although it does not ensure their safety, the women who go to these clinics receive a $1,550 reward, something the state is trying to increase.

The bravery of these women should be applauded. They are making a true difference in their country by upholding the law and fighting to lift the stigma of giving birth to girls. Their work is of the utmost importance, and, as such, they should be celebrated.

Photo Credit: legends2k


Jim Ven
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for the article.

Vrishni S.3 years ago

Yeah that's a smart move turning those evil brutes in! I'm an Indian girl myself so I really care about so much. Those women are so brave and courageous, this is the way to fight mysogynist brutes.

Lisa D.
Lisa D.3 years ago

Thanks Pam.

Dani C.
Dani C.3 years ago


pam w.
pam w.3 years ago

Lisa...I tried unsuccessfully to send you a star. If we REALLY believe in choice (and we admit we know absolutely NOTHING about the cultural pressures Indian women face) we can only support them in their choices.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Good for them.

Lisa D.
Lisa D.3 years ago

I dont know... to be honest, I am all for abortion rights...

however these women going after women who want an abortion, for WHATEVER the reason might be, i feel that it is wrong

Mind you, I think that having an abortion because it is a girl is wrong ALSO..
but i cant imagine that in the US or the UK having an abortion comes with the question WHY, i dont think anyone would be refused, and i dont think that they will be forced to give the reason why..
so like if i truly dont want a girl and i am pregnant and i live in the US, I could just go and get an abortion, without any hassles or questions.. so i feel like they should be given the same amount of privacy
What they should do, which I strongly believe in, is limit the amount of time available for women to be able to get an abortion that way, whether they know if it is a girl or not.. it will make no difference.

Heather M
Heather Marv3 years ago

Such beautiful and brave women. Keep safe.

Dani C.
Dani C.3 years ago