FEMALE FOETICIDE

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Female foeticide is the process of finding out the sex of the fetus and undergoing abortion if it is a girl. Although it is illegal many people continue to practice it. Besides this there are some communities which practice female infanticide – the practice of the killing the girl child once she is born. This fact is highlighted by the findings of census 2001 which shows that there are only 933 women in this country for every 1000 men.

Some of the reasons for female foeticide are son preference, low status of woman, social and financial security associated with sons, socio-cultural practices including dowry and violence against woman, small family norm and consequent misuse of diagnostic techniques with the intention of female foeticide.

According to certain sections of the Indian penal code, forced abortion, causing death of an unborn child or intentionally preventing a child being born alive are punishable offences. Besides this, the pre­‑natal diagnostic techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse Act ) considers engaging in sex selective abortion using pre-natal diagnostic techniques as a punishable offence.

Estimates for female foeticide vary by various scholars. One group estimates more than 10 million female fetuses may have been illegally aborted in India since 1990’s and 500,000 girls were being lost annually due to female foeticide. Macpherson estimates that 100,000 abortions every year continue to be performed in India solely because the fetus is female.

Female foeticide is the termination of female fetuses in the wombs of their mothers for the selfish greed of having a male child. It is a matter of deep shame and cause of great concern. The evil of female foeticide is deeply entrenched in our society and pervades all classes and castes of society. It is very heart wrenching when a family does not think twice before killing a girl-child though the indulge themselves in praying religiously to goddess Lakshmi, kali and Durga.

Some believe that boys are an investment while girls are economic drainers. They also believe that boys would grow the family’s lineage and would secure their parents a good future. While the girls are considered a liability as they need to be married off with enormous dowry .

Some believe that in a male dominated society, it is easy to bring up a boy since the safety of the females is big issue and so raising girls up involves trouble. In a male dominated society, females are still considered as subordinate and inferior to males. Some backward families believe that having a boy child is going to uplift the status of the family. The government of India has initiated education and media advertisements to reach hospitals and clinics and medical professionals to increase awareness. The Indian Medical Association has shouldered efforts to prevent prenatal sex determination by promoting Beti-Bachao Abhiyan during its meeting and conferences. The Beti Bachao Abhiyan is initiated by prime minister Narendra Modi to raise awareness of the gender disparities created and resulting from sex-selective abortion. The dowry system is one of the main causes of female foeticide. This sin of killing an innocent child should be abolished from society. Medical licenses must be terminated with immediate effect for the practitioners who are conducting female foeticide. Through a lot of awareness consideration and understanding we can bring a shift in our beliefs and perceptions of society to give equal space to girl child. A little  change in our mindset and attitude is all that is needed to welcome daughters in our hearts and in this world.