Female Foeticide

Topics: Gender, Abortion, Sex, Population, Male / Pages: 48 (11828 words) / Published: Dec 18th, 2011
Female Foeticide in India
Submitted by admin on 1 May, 2004 - 05:25 • India • IHN 2004.2 May • International Humanist News
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Female Foeticide in India
By Indu Grewal and J. Kishore
Introduction
Some of the worst gender ratios, indicating gross violation of women’s rights, are found in South and East Asian countries such as India and China. The determination of the sex of the foetus by ultrasound scanning, amniocentesis, and in vitro fertilization has aggravated this situation. No moral or ethical principle supports such a procedure for gender identification. The situation is further worsened by a lack of awareness of women’s rights and by the indifferent attitude of governments and medical professionals. In India, the available legislation for prevention of sex determination needs strict implementation, alongside the launching of programmes aimed at altering attitudes, including those prevalent in the medical profession.
Background
The killing of women exists in various forms in societies the world over. However, Indian society displays some unique and particularly brutal versions, such as dowry deaths and sati. Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. Female foetuses are selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000. The United Nations has expressed serious concern about the situation.
The sex ratio has altered consistently in favour of boys since the beginning of the 20th century (see Table), and the effect has been most pronounced in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. It was in these states that private foetal sex determination clinics were first established and the practice of selective abortion became popular from the late 1970s. Worryingly, the

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