China and India, two countries with skewed sex ratios in favor of males, have introduced a wide range of policies over the past few decades to prevent couples from deselecting daughters, including criminalizing sex-selective abortion through legal jurisdiction. This article aims to analyze how such policies are situated within the bio-politics of population control and how some of the outcomes reflect each government’s inadequacy in addressing the social dynamics around abortion decision making and the social, physical, and psychological effects on women’s wellbeing in the face of criminalization of sex-selective abortion. The analysis finds that overall, the criminalization of sex selection has not been successful in these two countries. Further, the broader economic, social, and cultural dynamics which produce bias against females must be a part of the strategy to combat sex selection, rather than a narrow criminalization of abortion which endangers women’s access to safe reproductive health services and their social, physical, and psychological wellbeing.
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)