It’s an irony that even in the world of 21st century, homo sapiens are still keeping up with their gender biasness and are practicing brutalities like Female foeticide and infanticide.
Ever wondered how the world would be like without girls and women? Do these murderers who do female foeticide even realise that there infact won’t exist any world without women? What gives these insane people right to take lives and kill innocent children even before they take birth just because of their gender?
It’s high time to make these people learn the lessons of civilisation and humanity. We need to protect girl child and let them live a life of dignity, equal opportunities and freedom.
Meaning of the term and history
As a medical term, foeticide is destruction of a foetus, in the womb of the mother itself. There is an ultrasound technology available using which sex of the child can be determined while the foetus is in the womb and parents who don’t want a girl child undergo this test and then kill the baby in the womb before it is born.
The sex selective abortion is not at all supportable. ‘Historically, in the absence of genetic testing, infanticide was the only inhumane option for discarding the female child. This heinous practice continues even today in the southern parts of India where families cannot afford an illegal ultrasound test.
People in Punjab, Haryana and other Western states can afford illegal test to determine the sex of the baby and discard it (From The Tribune, Chandigarh 2003/09/12)
A UN Report, was recorded saying that at least 117 million girls around the world demographically go “missing” due to sex selective abortion.
South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, China and Tibet are the prominent recorders of high female foeticide incidents. Also, UNICEF estimates that the turnover of foeticide industry has now reached 244 million dollar from 77 million dollar in 2006.
According to the latest records 219 cases have been registered in the year 2018. No doubt there is a constant increase in the registration of the cases on female foeticide but the judiciary is comparatively slow in implementing the laws on female foeticide. Collection of evidence turns to be problematic.
Factors responsible for Female Foeticide
- Economic Factors
Many parents who expect a girl child opt to have abortion because of the economic factors involved. They believe that raising a girl child would not be economically viable as they will have to marry her off and all the expenditure on her education and other things won’t do any good to them.
It is believed that daughters do not offer social security to parents. The dowry is considered an additional disbursement apart from other expenses incurred on a girl child.
- Socio-Ritual Factors
Daughters are also perceived as a disgrace in Indian society as the parents have to maintain a status in the society. A typical traditional Indian family wishes that their family name continues which according to them can be done only through a son.
As crimes against women are increasing in our country there is a terror in several families regarding the protection and security of their daughters. Therefore, the parents believe that killing of the daughter before she is born is better so that she does not become the prey to the countless crimes, which will ultimately destroy her life and result in humiliation for her parents. Poverty and illiteracy is also measured as a crucial reason for the exercise of female foeticide.
- Technical Factors
The technical factors responsible for the surging number of female foeticide cases is the viable availability of ultrasonic machines that can detect the gender of the foetus in the womb itself.
Those who disapprove of the practice of sex selective abortions but get engaged in it against their principles expressed their compulsions and helplessness due to pressures arising out of unhealthy competition in the health care service sector. It was said that if they did not provide abortion care services, some others would have provided them.
Why is there a need to put a full stop on Female Foeticide ?
There is a dire need to entirely curb this heinous and brutal act of killing and gender biasness called Female Foeticide.
- The immediate effect visible is the unbalanced sex ratio across the countries where female foeticide is practiced. Be it India, China, Pakistan or Tibet, all of them are facing the serious issue of imbalanced male-female ratio.
- Another grave concern is inadequate presence representation of women in the society. There is already too much of gender biasness prevailing in the society, guess what would happen to the plight of women when they will be less in number too.
- Female foeticide also has a very bad effect on mother both physically and mentally. The mother not only suffers from health problems later but is also hurt on emotional and psychological level.
- The decline in the sex ratio will badly hamper the social structure and the development process. This imbalance would have serious repercussions for Indian society in future, especially on the status of women, leading to increased sexual violence including prostitutions, trafficking and the reduced mobility of women.
How it can be dealt
1. Government Initiatives
Government and individual institutions are trying their best to deal with this menace .Here are few prevalent laws implemented by the governments of India and China:-
- Beijing, China has the Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China of 2002 that prohibits sex identification of foetus and sex-selective abortions.
- In India, the Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (amended in 2003) prohibits sex-selection or disclosure of the sex of the foetus. It also prohibits sale of “any ultrasound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of foetus” to persons, laboratories and clinics not registered under the Act .The government of India also recently launched the ‘BETI BACHAO ,BETI PADHAO‘ Movement in order to promote girl education and demote the practice of female foeticide and infanticide.
- Nepal, in 2002, amended the Country Code, Muluki Ain, to allow abortion on medical grounds and prohibit sex-selective abortions.
- The Population Ordinance (2006) and Prime Minister Decree (2006) of Vietnam prohibits all practices of antenatal foetal sex diagnosis and sex selection.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India has targeted education and media advertisements to reach clinics and medical professionals to increase awareness. The Indian Medical Association has undertaken efforts to prevent prenatal sex selection by giving its members Beti Bachao (save the daughter) badges during its meetings and conferences.
However, despite so many initiatives the prevailing imbalance in sex ratio (914 girls per 1000 boys) tell that there has been some drawbacks in the fulfilment and achievement of such actions .Weak law enforcement and easy access to ultrasonography fail to curb this practice.
2. Role of individual Institutions
There are some institutions like UNPF and UNICEF under United Nations who have also laid down some rules regarding the prevention of female foeticides and expect member countries to follow them without any failure.
Many NGOs too support the fight against this inhumane practice. Still, there is a long way to go and a lot to achieve in order to get rid of it completely.
As the aforementioned arguments prove , female foeticides is an illogical notion that needs to be curbed in order to establish a safe and sound life environment for the mothers and daughters all over the globe. Killing the girl child making pre-birth investigation is a social sin destroying the roots of the Indian society.
And if we don’t take the problem seriously and take considerate actions ,there will be times when the females will be disappeared from the earth and as a result the human race will face the extinction too.
In the words of Kofi Annan, violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation and perhaps the most pervasive too. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture and wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.
It’s high time we understand that the female child has equal rights to live and thrive. We should rather encourage mothers who give birth to girl child to educate them and support them throughout so that the world gets more of Kalpana Chawla, Kiran Bedi, Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher ,Madam Curie and women excelling in all the fields making their families and nations proud of them.