Female Foeticide: Slaughtering Neonates

With a ridiculously high population of over 1.2 billion in a so-called democratic country of India, people today, be it educated or illiterate still hesitate to converse about sex. But the biggest irony of the country is that regardless of how prohibited or hesitant people seem to be while conversing about sex and countless other social issues, India is one of the most populated countries in the world.

Unfortunately, India is also accountable for rapes happening every twenty minutes in the country, regardless of its journey from a third world country to a developing country. One of the major issues that seem to deal with this population ratio is female foeticide. India is supposed to be a secular and democratic country but it more like, most people are unaware of the definitions of the many words used in the Preamble itself.

The frequency of female foeticide in India is assumed to be an estimation derived from its high birth sex ratio. The natural ratio is assumed to be between 103 and 107, and any number above it is considered as suggestive of female foeticide. According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0 to 6 age group in India has risen from 102.4 males per 100 females in 1961, to 104.2 in 1980, to 107.5 in 2001, to 108.9 in 2011. The Indian government has passed Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act in 1994 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. It is currently illegal in India to determine or disclose sex of the foetus to anyone.

female-foeticide

However, there are concerns that this Act has been poorly enforced by authorities. So why discuss this issue when it’s already illegal in the eyes of the government? India is a country where if a child does not pursue Engineering or Medicine, they will never make it in life, which not only restricts the child in their respective life choices but also make them unprepared to the variant exposure in the country and the world at large. The misinformation in Indian families regarding how a girl child will disgrace the family and will never be as equivalent as a boy, genuinely needs to alter and revolutionize.

In most poor families where pre-pubertal and young girls are sold for a little extra income in the family, a boy is never questioned of his acts be it rape, theft or even murder. So what society are we living in, where we are teaching women to defend themselves and ignoring while encouraging men to continue their criminally violence acts against women?

However, something that tops the list of violence against women is infanticide where the girl child is killed even before she is born. Skewed sex ratios have moved beyond the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. With news of increasing number of female foetuses being aborted from Orissa to Bangalore there is ample evidence to suggest that the next census will reveal a further fall in child sex ratios throughout the country. Since 1991, 80% of districts in India have recorded a declining sex ratio with the state of Punjab being the worst.

It’s disheartening and utterly saddening to be a part of a country where people worship over 33 million gods and goddesses and respect the motherland as Bharat Maata, but have absolutely no respect for a girl child. These hypocritical citizens are surprisingly not only in innumerable villages of the country but vastly in metropolitan cities as well. At times, foeticide may also be a result of sex trafficking or rape, but unfortunately that still adds on to the criminal offence. Despite these horrific numbers, foetal sex determination and sex selective abortion by unethical medical professionals has today grown into a Rs. 1,000 crore industry.

Social discrimination against women, already entrenched in Indian society, has been spurred on by technological developments that today allow mobile sex selection clinics to drive into almost any village or neighbourhood unchecked.
girls issue

In a 2011 study, British medical journal Lancet found that up to 12 million Indian female foetuses had been aborted in the previous three decades. Last year, the United Nations said the dwindling number of Indian girls had reached “emergency proportions” and was contributing to crimes against women. So what are we as educated citizens on the same country doing, nothing really, isn’t it? The biggest myth according to most people is that female foeticides only occur in villages and not cities due to the literacy rate, but that myth has been debunked. This change might take several years because of the far-reaching mentality of how boys are better than girls, but it’s never too late to change this and educate people regarding this issue. This change starts from each of our homes, each of our mindsets and each of our fellow citizens. So it’s high time, the decision is yours to make. I choose to be pro-life, be it a boy or a girl, are you?

 

Sonia David is an aspiring Counselling Psychologist pursing her post graduation in Psychology. She is a writer with a pinch of sarcasm and wit who loves writing about social and feminist issue. The ignorance and the insensitive attitude of people towards these issues motivate her and fire her up to act against the same, so she is passionate about writing. She has met many people, heard several stories and is a storyteller through her writing skills. She is also a Zentangle Artist as she finds it relaxing and soothing. She also loves travelling and someday she wishes to travel all around the country and help be a change in shifting the patriarchal mentality.