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Female feticide and Sex ratio in India - BMJ

While leafing through the BMJ magazine; June, a letter on one of the articles of sBMJ May urged me to find the May issue and read it. It was about the unwelcome sex in India. I have heard about the high occurrence of female feticide in India but happening to hear a lot in the recent days on magazines and blogs.

The article touched on the dangerous traditions in India which favour for the birth of a boy than girl as boys are cheaper because of the dowry system. The high social and economic value of men is the causation for sex selective abortions in India. Though the dowry payments are illegal, it is accepted as a tradition to continue their family hierarchy and this phenomena is deeply rooted in the societies. Although is illegal to do a prenatal examinations to identify the sex of a fetus is illegal in India, if the families once known it is a girl, the fetus is terminated. According to the article, evidently there were about 5 million female fetuses are aborted every year purely on the basis of the sex of the fetus. (190)

There were signs used to be displayed in the diagnostic centres in the '80s & '90s and rarely now quoting "Invest 500 now, and save 50,000 later" which simply means save your money that you have to pay as dowry in the future by identifying the sex now. This is really shocking! Where have the benevolence of humans gone? Do you decide whether you want to be born or not. How can you then take the rights of determining whether a fetus should be born or not. At the end of the day, it has to be a girl, who gives the birth regardless of the fact whether it is a boy or girl child.

There is also a low female to male sex ratio resulted from the sex selective abortions in India. High proportion of marriages are still arranged by parents, and the inability to pay enough dowry to an educated and settled groom by the middle and lower class families is also a huge cause for this. "The government of India indicated that there are about 6000 murders and suicides each year associated with problems of dowry". The laws set out against these feticides are simply worthless because the tradition, as mentioned above, is very deeply rooted in the society.
There are several aspects which are widely held by the people that men are dominant even in funerals where only boys are allowed to do the funeral rites as they believe it helps them to go to heaven after death. Because of the low female to male sex ratio, men may find it difficult to find their right partners so that they might start paying dowry -in the future. A prediction by some.

The article also emphasised that the Indian govt should find the loopholes which allow these abortions against the law and also more freedom, education and awareness programmes are necessary. I strongly believe that education on this issue is fundamental to raise the awareness and the risks caused by; female feticide such as; bleeding, infections, mental problems, uterine injuries and even death.

Ref: Dahal KB, Tripathi S. The unwelcome sex. Student BMJ May 2008; 16: 190-1.


Anonymous said…
these traditions that favour boys over girls is a problem most of the world suffers from.
but gosh i never heard of sex selective abortions !!...*speechless*

when will they realize females are just as competent as males (if not more:P)
Saranya said…
Probably never Sudi. It's very hard to eradicate such things thoroughly from all the places. Thanks for ur comment :)
Kumiththa said…
This is really scary. i don't know how to react to this...
When are they going to realise the valuable of girls.
shobna said…
Good post thank you

I would ask you something do you think will it really stop injustice to women if MTP is stopped.Bcoz (1) those who r determined to destroy they will surely do. They will murder the foetus themselves (2) If girl is born anyhow then they will kill her mentally and emotionally if not physically. The situation is really bad. I want to do something about it.
I would like to say is my post did not to criticize those who don't keep up their word sometimes and inform timely.But for those who don't keep their word always
Nithin Jayan said…
nice effort mate...awesome....k...

heres check this out:

really interesting stuff...!!! hope these ideas never reach the masses...if so...donno wat'll guys of future do with no gal on earth!!!
Nithin Jayan said…
the first site gives us simple 3 steps...simple 3 steps...2 choose if v need a son or daughter..!!!!
Saranya said…
Kumiththa: It is, isn't it... and I have no idea when ;) thanks for ur comment :)
Saranya said…
Iam not sure if you are generally speaking about all MTP or sex selective abortions. Because MTP can be done due to medical reasons as well.
But WRT to the post, stopping those illegal feticides will make a difference. It ll at least reduce the number of abortions at the hospitals if not the injustice to women. Also, education is to increase their awareness so tht it is a way to make them realise the unjust behind the feticides.
Above all, I guess there are women who also agree to do this and they should be as well educated.

Thanks for ur comment. I do appreciate it :)
Saranya said…
Nithin: Thanks!
shobna said…
mostly women are ones who force sex determination.
Rarely its men. atleast in the place I lived for yrs.
I was talking of MTP after amniocentesis. Actually its not the correct word.
shobna said…
One more thing. people in the place I studied also follow one more thing that is they they strike a copper plate with a spoon when a boy is born to announce the happiness. But not for girls. Girls out there have excepted that so nicely.
they don't celebrate a girls birthday out there.
Aneesh said…
Really sad to hear about all these, Will it be over at sometime? Who knows?

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