Today in New Delhi, India
Apr 23, 2019-Tuesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

India a haven for foetus 'abortion'

Pregnant British Asian women are going to India for gender-defining ultrasounds, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 19:21 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

Living in Britain and growing up with the western culture does not, it seems, make many Indian-origin families forget the sons-only psyche. A number of women refused foetus terminations by the National Health Service (NHS) have reportedly been flying to Delhi, Ahmedabad and Amritsar for aborting female foetuses.

It has come as a surprise revelation that abortion of female foetuses has long been part of life in Britain and the Observer has uncovered evidence that " pregnant British Asian women, some in effect barred by the NHS after numerous abortions", are going to India for gender-defining ultrasounds and " if they are expecting girls, terminations".

The Sunday paper has cited several instances of women who flew to India from Leicester and other places here for such terminations, which it said cost about Rs1000 (£13 approx). Surprisingly one woman told the paper what has been an age-old saying in India, " No woman is complete without a son."

A report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee recognised last year that some communities have a decided preference for boys over girls and " permitting such choices leads to increased opportunities for reinforcing sexist attitudes". It also said that a research at De Montfort University in Leicester showed that a social need for male children, particularly among Britons of Indian descent was widespread.

But there are many clinics here; even those in Asian-dominated areas that are refusing to disclose the sex of unborn babies. Asian community leaders in Scotland have demanded that a gender selection clinic in Glasgow be closed. It had advertised in Punjabi papers about preference for sons.

Apparently here such a practice is being severely frowned upon. An Indian GP is being tried for allegedly passing on details about a clinic in Barcelona to a young expectant mother, who had passed the 24-weeek-abortion limit in the UK.

The report from Delhi describes the dirty conditions of some clinics in there where abortions are carried out. It has also quoted several doctors in the city.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 19:19 IST