By conservative estimates, sex-selective abortion in India accounts for the termination of about 10 million females over the past 20 years.
“This is the world’s biggest genocide ever,” Chetan Sharma, a campaigner against female feticide, told the Daily Mail of London.
Chetan is founder of the Delhi-based group Datamation.
India’s 2001 census shows a drop in the number of girls 6-years-old and under per 1,000 boys, to 927, compared to 962 in 1981.
“The future is frightening. Over the next five years we could see more than a million fetuses eliminated every year,” said researcher Sabu George.”At this pace we’ll soon have no girls born in the country. We don’t know where it will stop.”
The problem of undervaluing women is an old one. In the 19th century, British leaders tried to eradicate female infanticide. Female feticide, however, is a new phenomenon brought about by advances in technology along with liberal attitudes toward abortion, which was legalized in India in 1971.
Kalpana Sharma, a columnist in The Hindu newspaper, says “anyone can walk into a government hospital and ask for an immediate abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy, free, merely by saying there has been a failure of contraception.”
India has a law barring medical personnel from from using prenatal diagnostic techniques to determine the sex of an unborn child. But the law is widely ignored because local officials are reluctant to fight the will of the people, the Daily Mail said.
Generally, in Indian society, woman who produce only daughters are pitied, in some cases abused and in many cases regarded as betrayers.
A woman who had nine abortions of females said it’s important to have a son because of the family’s big business.
“I want what my husband has built from scratch to go to his own blood,” she said.
It’s not just the assets of having a son that motivate feticide – carrying on the family name or business and taking care of elderly parents. The practice of providing a dowry to the grooms’ family creates an enormous financial burden on parents who have a daughter.
Kalpana Sharma said the dowry demands today are nothing short of extortion. Many families sell off land and are forced into debt they can never pay off.
The affluent also are choosing feticide, as evidenced by the fact that states with the lowest ratios of girls to boys also are the most prosperous, such as Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana.
Affluent women, the analysts say, believe they will have a better standard of living if they have only sons.
Land inheritance also is an issue, as daughters now are entitled legally to an equal share of land when their parents die.
Many unqualified technicians are operating ultrasound machines throughout the country, finding it relatively easy to get a license. While there are 25,770 officially registered pre-natal units in India, one doctor estimates as many as 70,000 ultrasound machines are in operation.
Long-term consequences of the gender imbalance include the rise of prostitution and sex trafficking and the danger to women’s emotional and physical health from repeated abortions.
The Indian government is taking steps to impose regulations on the registered ultrasound clinics throughout the country, but Chetan Sharma, of Datamation, says that local officials are guilty of corruption and will simply continue to turn a blind eye.
As WorldNetDaily reported in 2004, the Bush administration withheld a $34 million payment from the United Nations Population Fund to China over the issue of forced abortions.
The communist government of China maintains, at least in some areas of the country, a one-child policy sometimes enforced through a policy of forced abortions. It is believed China performs some 10 million involuntary abortions a year.
Facing a critical shortage of women that could leave millions of men without wives, China is trying to convince its populace of the value of girls, who have been systematically killed during birth or after as a result of the one-child limit on most families.
Beijing has developed a five-year plan to correct the alarming disparity in the numbers of males and females in the country.