Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



India has banned the use of ultrasound technology to determine the sex of a fetus for more than a decade. Despite this ban, India's 2001 census showed that for every one thousand boys under the age of six there are only 927 girls. There is speculation that this striking gender imbalance is largely the result of the abortion of fetuses discovered to be female after a sex determination ultrasound or amniocentesis procedure. Traditionally, the desire not to have a female child is viewed as a consequence of the dowry system that is prevalent in India. Commentators often propose efforts to raise the social and economic status of women to end this custom as a solution to the gender imbalance problem. This Note argues that new research shows that traditional explanations and solutions may not be accurate or effective. The Author proposes that the problem must be addressed by both immediate and long-term solutions: India's government should immediately implement a ban on sex selection with "vigor and zeal" and should, in the long-term, increase the value of women in Indian society.