Researchers in India and Canada for the Lancet journal said prenatal selection and selective abortion was causing the loss of 500,000 girls a year.This is incredibly sad.
Their research was based on a national survey of 1.1m households in 1998.
This is a complicated issue for many feminists: the decline in the female population is a serious problem, yet forbidding the practice would be prohibiting elective abortion. It may even lead some to question their pro-choice principles.
Perhaps one way to think about this apparent conflict would be to make a loose analogy with employment. Although the relationship between a parent and child is vastly different in nature from the relationship between an employer and employee, in both cases the parent/employer can decide whether or not to accept the child/employee, and acceptance carries with it a significant personal and financial responsibility.
Looking at any individual case, the decision to hire is solely up to the employer. The government cannot, and should not, go around dictating that you must hire certain specific people — that would be forcing you to create a relationship and take on a responsibility against your will. But when large numbers of employers systematically reject qualified applicants because of their sex or race, then we have a problem.
The analogy is a weak one, and it doesn't point the way to a clear solution, but it does help me think about the issue.