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Posts Tagged ‘Sex selective abortion’

I agree that it’s the mindset of the people that must change. Banning sex determination ultrasounds will in all likelihood increase the incidence of female infanticide. However, doctors who continue to perform them need to be charged.

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By Elizabeth Vargas

Six months ago, I traveled to India to see firsthand what the prime minister of that country calls a national shame. It is the systematic, widespread, shocking elimination of India’s baby girls. Some 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month in India. Baby girls are often killed at birth, either thrown into rivers, or left to die in garbage dumps. Its estimated that one million girls in India “disappear” every year.

I traveled first to Delhi, where I met a woman who is a member of the privileged, educated class. Her name is Mitu and she is a pediatrician, married to a doctor. When she became pregnant, she said her husband’s family pressured her to have an illegal ultrasound to see if her twins were girls or boys.

There are clinics everywhere in India, offering ultrasounds. We walked down street after street and saw signs everywhere advertising ultrasound services. There are even technicians who pack portable ultrasounds and travel to villages offering their services. The dirty little secret is that many couples use the ultrasound to find out the sex of their baby. If they find it’s a girl, hundreds of thousands of mothers-to-be abort the fetus. 50,000 girl fetuses are aborted every month in India. It is a staggering number. And it has created whole villages where there are hardly any women. We went to one such village in the province of Haryana. Everywhere we looked, we saw boys, young men, old men, but very, very few women. It was unsettling, especially because we knew this was not some freak of nature, but a result of the deliberate extermination of girls.

full story

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It is a country with a female president and where men revere female goddesses. And yet, India is far from a haven for women.

According to current estimates, Indian men outnumber women by nearly 40 million. That startling gender gap, activists say, is the result of gendercide.

Nearly 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month and untold numbers of baby girls are abandoned or murdered.

“It’s the obliteration of a whole class, race, of human beings. It’s half the population of India,” said women’s rights activist Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.

Why is there such deadly discrimination against girls? Part of the answer is money. Girls are a financial burden to their parents, who must pay expensive dowries to marry them off. The dowry is a cultural tradition and the single biggest reason Indians prefer boys.

When an Indian woman gives birth to a baby boy, it is an occasion for jubilation, said women’s rights activist Gita Aravamudan, author of the book, “Disappearing Daughters.”.

Mother Says She Was Tortured to Abort Twin Girls

Those seeking to maintain the status quo, meanwhile, have been aggressive.

Mitu Khurana, 34, a pediatrician and a mother trying to fight the system, said she’s faced death threats for the lawsuit she has filed against her husband and her husband’s family.

Khurana said her parents-in-law tricked her into eating a cake made with eggs, knowing that she was allergic to eggs. She had to go to the emergency room and at the hospital, where, Khurana said, an ultrasound determined that she was pregnant with twin girls. (Watch an interview with Mitu Khurana here.)

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Mitu Khurana’s children under new threat

Dr Mitu Khurana is an Indian doctor and activist whose case we have covered a number of times on Pickled Politics. She is now facing a fresh and imminent threat to her daughters. Her case to date is best summarised by the below two paragraphs:

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Dr. Mitu has been battling her husband and in-laws for years. Her troubles began when she refused to have an ultrasound (which is illegal in India due to the fear of female foeticide if the mother is found to be pregnant with girls); this upset her in-laws, who poisoned her and took her to a hospital in order to have the ultrasound done. When it was found she was pregnant with twin girls, she was pressured to have an abortion. She refused, and when they were born, she was expected to give them up for adoption. She did not want to, so her in-laws started conspiring against her, with her mother in-law pushing her then four month old daughter down the stars on one occasion.

Dr. Mitu eventually left the house with her daughters for good, and filed a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act, the first individual to do so. Since then her in-laws have taken her to court in order to gain partial custody of her children, an action she believes is merely a ploy in order to get her to drop the complaint against them and the hospital. Numerous officials she has encountered have been unsympathetic or downright hostile. A high court judge even told her to reconcile with her husband and in-laws after they had tried to kill one of her daughters. Full Story

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Man kills pregnant wife who refused to abort girl child

Even as we rue about the lowest ever child sex ratio of 914, revealed by the 2011 Census figures, we have dismally failed to bring about a change in the mindset of a section of the population which sees the girl child as a burden and ruthlessly resorts to indiscriminate violence against women.

In a shocking incident, a man in Kurnool town of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday beat his pregnant wife to death for carrying a female foetus for the third consecutive time.

According to Kurnool Police, C. Prakash, a private firm employee residing in the Shankar Mutt area of the town, mercilessly beat his wife Surekha (26) after going through her ultra-sound report which revealed she was carrying a girl child.

Surekha, who was in her sixth month of pregnancy, could not withstand the beating and fell unconscious. Her parents immediately took her to the local government hospital, where she was declared brought dead.

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Undesired
by Walter Astrada

Click on image to go to video

India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy. No woman is exempt.

This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden. As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

The numbers are staggering. Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are ‘missing,’ by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes. Countless others are never known.

The government has tried to intervene. Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal. Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices.

Today, eighty percent of Indian states are now facing a shortage of women. To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors. Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as other Indian women.

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From Gender Bytes

Hello friends,

This is an emergency situation! We are rallying public support for Dr. Mitu Khurana’s legal fight to protect her 5-year old twin girls from their father. Her case is outlined below. Please sign her petition and circulate it. A copy will be sent to the appropriate offices in Delhi as evidence of public support for her case.

Click here for the petition

Mitu first posted her story on 50 Million Missing’s discussion/support forum about 2 years ago. This is the link for her case where we kept supporters updated on her situation. The relevance of Mitu’s case is monumental in light of India’s systematic annihilation of millions of its daughters.

Within the first few months of her marriage when Mitu was pregnant with twins, her husband and his family colluded with the hospital to secretly determine the gender of the fetuses. They were told she was expecting girls. Her husband and in-laws thereafter started pressurizing her to have an abortion. While it is routine for pregnant women to undergo ultrasound, it is illegal for doctors and hospitals in India to reveal the sex of the fetus during these tests. Despite this law, called the PC&PNDT (Pre-Conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Test), it is estimated that in India more than a million potential daughters are selectively eliminated before birth each year, sometimes late in the pregnancy so the family can be sure that they are getting rid of a daughter and not a precious son!

Mitu’s case also challenges the assumption that it is poverty and lack of education that is driving this daughter-annihilation. Like Mitu, her husband too is a medical doctor, from a well-do family, and various other members from his family are also doctors! In deed the largest gender ratio gap in India is among the educated, well-to-do, middle and upper classes. It is not that they cannot afford to raise girls, they just don’t want girls!

Mitu’s case is not unique. Thousands of young, married Indian women are tortured, tormented, and forced into aborting their daughters, often late in the pregnancy, at great risk to their own health and lives. Mitu however refused to submit. Thereupon, her husband and mother-in-law subject her to various forms of abuse to induce an abortion.

Visit Gender Bytes to read the article in it’s entirety.

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