The act of aborting or terminating a foetus while it’s still in the womb, because it is female, is known as female foeticide. This can be done after determining the sex of the child before it’s born, through ultrasound scans. Although, sex determination in India is illegal, the practice is rampant and has become a multi-million dollar industry. This process began in the early 1990s when ultrasound techniques gained widespread use in India. There was a tendency for families to continuously produce children until a male child was born. For centuries, families across many parts of India have regarded a male child as the preferred of the two sexes. There have been many social, financial, emotional and religious reasons for this preference and while times have changed, many of these reasons and beliefs continue to remain. Today, some of the key reasons that exist for the preference of a male child are as follows: •
The tradition of paying dowry at the time of a daughter’s marriage is alive and kicking. This amount can be so huge that many parents will go to extreme lengths to avoid having a daughter in the first place. •
A son can carry on the family name, while a daughter becomes part of her husband’s family •
Many families consider it a status symbol to have a son, and a point of shame to have a daughter. •
Illiteracy, poverty and the tag of ‘burden’ that is assigned to a girl child, makes the desire for a male child even stronger. To prevent the problem of female foeticide from happening the government has passed The Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act in 1994, making sex-selective abortion illegal. It was then modified in 2003 holding medical professionals legally responsible. However the PCPNDT Act has been poorly enforced by authorities. The law on aborting is also strict, and the Indian government allows it only under certain circumstances While sex determination has been banned by the Indian government, it does not stop families...
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