How Stereotypes about Indians are used to promote Abortion Restrictions in the United States?

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Sital Kalantry

Many state legislatures in the United States have passed restrictions on abortion for purposes of selecting the sex of the child. Advocates for these bans are using the widespread crises of sex-selective abortion in India to push for the prohibitions in the U.S. They argue that immigrants from India abort female fetuses at the same rates as people who live in India. This narrative misunderstands that sex-selective abortions are, in part, related to structural factors in society. It also wrongly assumes that Indian immigrants act in the same ways as people living in India. This view gained support from inaccurate understandings and representations of an academic article that found that a small number of Asian Americans sex-select. This article demonstrates how this happened and suggests an alternative explanation for why a few Indians living in the U.S. might be sex-selecting – they want to have both a boy and a girl.

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