Report: Indian Woman Forced to Abort 10 Female Fetuses

A woman in the western Indian city of Bombay said her husband forced her to undergo 10 abortions over 23 years in hopes of having a son, a newspaper report said.

Dhanvanti More, the mother of four daughters, said every time she became pregnant, her husband would take her for an ultrasound test to see if it was a boy, the Hindustan Times newspaper said Saturday.

Over the years, she underwent 10 abortions after each ultrasound test revealed she was carrying a female fetus, it said.

CountryWatch: India

More told the newspaper that she filed a police complaint against her husband after she discovered that he had married another woman with whom he had a son.

"I never refused because I come from a very poor family. But he left me to remarry for a son," the newspaper quoted More as saying.

Earlier this week, a local Bombay court ordered that the husband be detained on charges of harassment and forcing his wife to undergo repeated abortions.

Police were investigating the doctors who conducted the tests and the abortions. Revealing the sex of a fetus after an ultrasound test is illegal in India.

Indian society has long favored boys, who do not require the enormous dowry payments that bankrupt many poor families when Indian girls marry.

Girls are so undervalued that many couples prefer to abort a fetus if they find they are expecting a baby girl. Abortions are legal in India but aborting a fetus because of its gender is not.

The result of the widespread preference for sons has been a sharp decline in the number of girls. Nationwide, the number of girls per 1,000 boys declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001, according to the 2001 national census.