Female Foeticide Category : Secondary School Level

Female Foeticide 

Category : Secondary School Level

Female foeticide is the term used to describe the killing of a female foetus in the womb of the mother. In modern times, very commonly, a female foetus is selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of a girl. No moral or ethical principle supports such a procedure for gender discrimination.


The sex ratio has altered consistently in favour of boys since the beginning of 20th century and the effect is more pronounced in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Private foetal sex determination clinics were first established in these states and the practice of selective abortion became popular in late 1970s. Worryingly, the trend is far stronger in urban than rural areas, among literate than illiterate, exploding the myth that growing woman in society is determined by her education, health, economic role, presence in profession, and decision- making power within the family. Among Hindus, preference for a male child is deeply enshrined in belief and practice.


The practice of dowry has spread nationwide, to communities and castes in which it had never been the custom before, fuelled by materialism and emulation of upper caste practices. The need of dowry for a girl and the ability to demand for a boy exerts considerable economic pressure on families to avoid having a girl, who is seen as a liability. There are posters for sex- determination tests in some cities that read, 'It is better to pay Rs. 500 no^ than, Rs. 50,000 (in dowry) later!’


Abortion was legalized in India in 1971 only to strengthen humanitarian values (such as pregnancy due to sexual assault, contraceptive failure, if the baby would be severely handicapped etc). Amniocentesis and Ultrasound, introduced to detect foetal abnormalities, are now used for sex determination with the intention of aborting the girl foetus. The pregnant woman is often pressurized to undergo such procedures causing psychological trauma due to repeated abortions. Demographers warn that in the next twenty years there will be a shortage of brides mainly because of the adverse juvenile sex ratio. With the availability of modem medical technologies in easy reach, the selective abortion is becoming more common.


The sex ratio girls to boys, in some states, has dropped to 800:1000. The impact of such s lower sex ratio on society should not be underestimated. A society with a preponderance of unmarried young men is prone to particular dangers; increase in molestation, rape and female exploitation as sex workers are an obvious result. The sharp rise in sex crimes in some cities has been attributed to unequal sex ratio.


In 1994, the Government of India passed Prohibition of Sex Selection Act with the aim of preventing female foeticide; it was amended and replaced in 2002 by the Regulation and Prevention of Misuse Act. Social sex selection i.e. girl infanticide is also illegal in India. However, to eradicate the evil and change the mindset of populace, serious steps such as advocating scientific, rational and humanist approach, inculcating a strong ethical code of conduct among medical professionals, and strict implementation of the Act by Government with the active participation of NGOs and local bodies in cities and rural areas, need to be taken.


It is only by a combination of monitoring, education campaigns, and effective legal implementation that the deep-seated attitudes and practices against women and girls can be eroded. The old ideas of our people has to be changed.. .a girl can do all that a boy can; she can carry the name of the family and can look after her parents in their old age provided these stereo-typed views are eradicated. Let them not forget, after all, it is a woman who gives birth to a ‘male’ child …. Don’t discriminate against her.

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