A Burden Borne


How Asian Women are Forced into Gender-Specific Abortions

Discrimination sadly begins from the moment a child is conceived where many South Asian families pressure women to abort baby girls due to cultural ignorance. These people deny mothers the chance to cradle their beautiful daughters in their arms, to allow future mothers to be born and carry on the family line, to give a female child the same basic rights a male child is given so adoringly. It seems in the eyes of ignorant people, these girls commit the heinous crime of simply being born the wrong gender. One passionate MP believes such people should be brought to the book.

Labour MP Vivendra Sharma recently announced that, “If nothing else, then name and shame those families or individuals who are putting pressure on the young girls.”

“What is most needed is the woman who is carrying the child needs to be empowered that she gets the support from society and from the system that if she is put under pressure, she can take the legal remedy against those people who are putting her under pressure.”

Rani Bilkhu, from the campaign group Jeena International, said South Asian women born in the UK or their native countries were under pressure to abort girls and were abused in harrowing ways.

“We have a high rate of women coming to us and saying, ‘We are being threatened and coerced to having abortions, we’re being thrown down the stairs.’

“There’s also women who’ve actually had girls, and have been left in hospital wards, because they feel that they’ve shamed the family and that woman is cursed.”

“Equally we know girls and families that aren’t marriageable because they have five siblings who are all girls. This is a curse within our community that unfortunately isn’t the curse of being a girl, it’s about [the] curse of discrimination.”

A harrowing incident involved a husband punching his pregnant wife in the stomach repeatedly after discovering she was carrying a girl.

A study by Sylvie Dubuc, from Oxford University, revealed the ratio of boys to girls born to Indian mothers was 114:100, drastically higher than the ratio for all women at 104:100. The study observed 23.4 million births over a 15-year period up to 2005, and concluded that over 1,500 baby girls went “missing” during that time.

In January, it was revealed that the natural balance of boys and girls in some immigrant communities was greatly off balance.

In response to this, the UK Government intends to alter the 1967 Abortion Act this week, as it does not specifically outlaw terminations based on gender


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