“Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbour’s garden”

A long piece on the harsh, cold reality of gender selection in India – especially in wealthier areas. Chilling.

Indian women of any class rarely make decisions about their reproductive choices themselves: Husbands and in-laws are usually intimately involved.

At a south Delhi abortion clinic this week, for example, five of six patients booked for appointments had been accompanied by their mothers-in-law. The clinic director, who did not wish to be quoted by name because of the sensitive nature of the subject, noted the large sign – which must, by law, be posted – saying sex determination was illegal and not offered there. Five of the 200 patients she sees each month are well into their second trimester, when fetal gender can be confirmed, and claim to already have daughters. She turns them away, fearing sex-based termination is their primary motive.

“But others lie, and how can we check? They say they have sons already, and came because of contraceptive failure, and that entitles them to abortion … and there is nothing I can do about that,” she adds.

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