Police in India discovered 19 aborted female babies abandoned near a hospital, and have launched a manhunt for the suspected doctor who has since gone missing.
According to BBC, the police were investigating the February death of a 26-year-old woman who had undergone an illegal abortion at a hospital in the city of Maharashtra. Her husband wanted the abortion after learning that she was carrying their third daughter. Though sex-selection abortions are illegal in India, many look for black market options when the mother is carrying a girl.
Villagers alerted the police after suspecting foul play in the death of the 26-year-old woman. During the investigation, the police were attempting to find the remains of the woman’s baby when they stumbled upon the 19 other fetuses. Senior police officials in Sangli district said the remains appeared to be buried with the intention of being disposed of. Police also said it seems the doctor was involved in an “abortion racket” and have arrested the husband of the missing doctor. Authorities fear there may be more aborted baby girls’ bodies that have yet to be discovered.
The news corroborates concerns that the problem of sex-selection abortions is still a substantial problem even with laws put in place to prevent these actions. Similar cases to this have been witnessed over the past few years. In 2012 eight female fetuses were found in a plastic bag near a lake in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In 2009, 15 female fetuses were found in Maharashtra’s Beed district. Sex-selection abortions are common in nations like China and India where women often are forced by their spouse or their families to abort female unborn babies due to a cultural preference for boys.
No precise data has been produced as to why this is a cultural preference, but there is growing concern about not only the health of the mothers and the babies but also to the effect it has on the human sex ratio in countries that still practice this behavior. In China this has resulted in an overpopulation of men, meaning there are not enough women for these men to marry. Its been speculated that approximately 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China’s mating market by 2020. The lack of women has caused a massive spike in the kidnapping of females to be sold as brides.
Indian Government leaders are trying to discourage citizens from sex-selective abortions in many ways. Aside from making sex-selective abortions and sex-determination tests illegal, some of the nation’s leaders have also put together creative social campaigns to promote the value of girls and discourage gender discrimination.