Indian Girls “Missing” Worldwide


by guest
19th May, 2011 at 11:21 am    

This is a guest post by Rita Banerji

Many assume The 50 Million Missing Campaign I run is about the female genocide – the mass and deliberate annihilation of women — in India. However, this is a phenomenon that concerns other countries too with sizeable Indian communities, like the U.K., the U.S., Norway and Canada.

In India the elimination is systemic and in many forms. But in expatriate communities, while issues like dowry violence and honour killings do exist, the most prevalent method of elimination is female feticide. The reason is, while western governments are compelled by law to deal with homicides, they are unwilling to address the systematic extermination of women through sex-selection.

A study published [subscription required] by researchers at Oxford University, reveals that 1500 girls went ‘missing’ from the Indian communities in England and Wales between 1990 and 2005. The 1500 figure indicates that 1 in 10 girls, who should have been born according to normal birth statistics, had been selectively aborted. The study raises another important question. This practice is not evident in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in the U.K., even though all three countries share a common history and culture, and the same social preference for sons.

But how is this possible when sex-selection is illegal in the U.K.? The law banning sex-selection was first passed in 1993. Then in 2003 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body for reproductive medicine in Britain, re-assessed the law. Their yearlong study also included a public survey. More than 80% of the British public was in favour of upholding the ban. Based on the HFEA report, the law was further tightened in 2007.

Some of the concerns raised by the British public were unhealthy gender demographics, and the endorsement of gender bias. These concerns manifest amply in India, where in another 20 years, men will outnumber women by 20%. The implications are immense. Rape is the fastest growing crime in India. And over the last 2 decades a domestic form of sex-trafficking has flourished that feeds the “bride market,” i.e. areas where men can’t find women to marry. Sometimes a “bride” is bought for a whole family of brothers to “share,” – a form of sexual, reproductive and domestic slavery that is astonishing legal! Worse still, as the gender ratio plummets in all Indian states, the bride-brokers are now trafficking girls from other countries, like Bangladesh.

Regarding the question of how the U.K. Indian gender-ratio got skewed notwithstanding the ban on sex-selection, it appears the expatriates are flying into India. Despite an even stronger ban on sex-selection in India, where doctors can’t disclose the gender of the foetus, there is a complicit network to cater to clients from the U.K. In a sting operation by the BBC where a pregnant British-Indian woman pretended to be seeking this service, she was told that the procedure was illegal, but that she would be referred to an abortion clinic if it’s determined to be a girl. Incidentally, the doctor who was also involved in grassroots movements against female feticide had been referred by the British High Commission in Delhi.

So, what good is Britain’s analysis and enforcement of the sex-selection ban if India indifferently violates its own law? Estimates of annual rates of female feticide in India vary from 500,000 to about 2 million [subscription required]. In 2010 there were only 107 cases registered, and of these just 16 convictions, with no evidence that these clinics were shut down or doctors suspended. Most disturbing is how this ‘woman-annihilating’ phenomenon has exploded into a multi-million dollar industry that includes and extends beyond India. American companies race to develop and sell newer and more accessible technologies, aggressively targeting India as a lucrative “market”. Countries like Thailand and the U.S.A. where sex-selection is legal provide packaged services. IVF doctors in Australia, a country with a large Indian population, desperate to tap into this profitable global business, are lobbying for Australia to over-turn its ban on sex-selection. Also, contrary to popular notions, it is not poverty but wealth that’s driving India’s female feticide. The largest gender gaps are among the wealthy middle and upper classes, who have the means to travel and purchase these services.

Given China’s equally mammoth role in this, and that together these two countries that account for 1/3 of the human race have already annihilated more than a 100 million women, there can be no doubt that female genocide today is an urgent issue of global concern. Article 2(d) of the 1948 U.N. Act on Genocide defines genocide as the prevention of the birth of a group. To stop female genocide will require legal accountability, an official global commitment, and a world-wide coordinated, concerted effort, like it would be for the genocide of any other human group.


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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Sex equality,South Asia






125 Comments below   |  

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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  2. Alana Lentin

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  3. Dr Eoin Clarke

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  4. Dr Eoin Clarke

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  5. sianushka

    read this > Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2 via @sunny_hundal


  6. Tim Easton

    “@sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://t.co/YTN9wic” interesting but surely this will lead to human extension


  7. Tim Easton

    “@sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://t.co/YTN9wic” interesting but surely this will lead to human extension


  8. Cllr Krupesh Hirani

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  9. Cllr Krupesh Hirani

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  10. Harinder

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  11. Daniel Proenca

    ABSURD! RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  12. Diana Fire

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  13. Noxi

    Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2 RT @sunny_hundal: #vaw #feticide #abortion #gender #bias


  14. Sibtain Rassiwalla

    Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2 RT @June4th @sunny_hundal >> Soon, India will have no women left. #feticide #dowry


  15. Jon Purdom/Paco Saez

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://bit.ly/mO0oE2


  16. 50 Million Missing

    Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://t.co/TPUablj, not just in India. Also the U.S., the U.K. and Canada!


  17. CSR India

    RT @50millionmissin: Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://t.co/TPUablj, not just in India. Also the U.S., the U.K. and Canada!


  18. 50 Million Missing

    @NewYorkPost — Indian girls "missing" in the U.S., U.K. Cananda — worldwide! see article on Pickled Politics http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  19. 50 Million Missing

    @SayNO_UNiTE @care — Indian girls "missing" worldwide! see article on Pickled Politics http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  20. 50 Million Missing

    @taslimanasreen — Indian girls “missing” in U.S., U.K., Canada too! A need for international action on this? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  21. 50 Million Missing

    @halfthesky — India + China = 1/3 of humans, have rid 100 million+ women. Already a global issue? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  22. Shenam Ticku

    @taslimanasreen — Indian girls “missing” in U.S., U.K., Canada too! A need for international action on this? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  23. kranti gunthoti

    @halfthesky — India + China = 1/3 of humans, have rid 100 million+ women. Already a global issue? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  24. Haroon

    @halfthesky — India + China = 1/3 of humans, have rid 100 million+ women. Already a global issue? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  25. kranti gunthoti

    RT @50millionmissin: @SayNO_UNiTE @care — Indian girls "missing" worldwide! see article on Pickled Politics http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  26. 50 Million Missing

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  27. 50 Million Missing

    @TbgDgc — Plz RT Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  28. Rita Banerji

    @saliltripathi — Here it is! The “missing” Indian girls in the U.K, U.S. Canada and world-over! http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  29. Sophia

    Study suggests some British Indian families are selectively aborting female foetuses http://is.gd/VyPSxw


  30. Salil Tripathi

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  31. Sidin Vadukut

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  32. Prashant Rajkhowa

    disgusting indians… RT @saliltripathi: How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions…abroad, @Rita_Banerji http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  33. SudhanwaSardeshpande

    Do read this if you do not have a girlfriend or have a girlfriend who you don't intend to marry -> http://bit.ly/m7KQNs


  34. Sumana Mukherjee

    How India killed 50 million girls. And why the US, Australia and Thailand want in. Must. Read. http://bit.ly/lfofDg (via @saliltripathi)


  35. nano m

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  36. Abhisek Pandey

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  37. charu sankaran

    @taslimanasreen — Indian girls “missing” in U.S., U.K., Canada too! A need for international action on this? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  38. elena

    Indian Girls “Missing” Worldwide http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/12663


  39. AJ

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  40. NellaLou

    @taslimanasreen — Indian girls “missing” in U.S., U.K., Canada too! A need for international action on this? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  41. Tamoso Deep

    @taslimanasreen — Indian girls “missing” in U.S., U.K., Canada too! A need for international action on this? plz c http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  42. Desi dislocated

    How Indians are carrying sex-selective abortions, distorting sex ratios, abroad, @rita_banerji shows here: http://bit.ly/lfofDg


  43. 50 Million Missing

    @UN_Women — Indian girls "missing" worldwide Here it is: http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  44. Donna Brown

    RT @sfrizwan: RT @50millionmissin: @UN_Women — Indian girls "missing" worldwide Here it is: http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  45. 50 Million Missing

    RT @sfrizwan: RT @50millionmissin: @UN_Women — Indian girls "missing" worldwide Here it is: http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  46. 50 Million Missing

    RT @TbgDgc #MustRead RT @50millionmissin @TbgDgc — Plz RT Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  47. 50 Million Missing

    #MustRead RT @50millionmissin @TbgDgc — Plz RT Indian Girls "Missing" Worldwide http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  48. Stephanie

    RT @sfrizwan: RT @50millionmissin: @UN_Women — Indian girls "missing" worldwide Here it is: http://tiny.cc/agw8l


  49. Sunjay JK

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  50. K

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  51. Amhsirak

    Indians however continue to indulge in their old favorite sport, no matter where they live. 50 Million and counting… http://tiny.cc/ip902


  52. Pickled Politics » Indian Girls “Missing” Worldwide | Follow The Swarm

    [...] Link: Pickled Politics » Indian Girls “Missing” Worldwide [...]


  53. Karina Tayag

    The killing of unborn female babies http://t.co/77XhFlH #abortion #India #feminicide #genocide #vaw #bridetrafficking #rape #UK #USA


  54. pdjmoo

    50millionmissin #Sex-selection is illegal in India. 1m female fetuses killed yearly http://ow.ly/5jSqY TAKE ACTION http://ow.ly/5jSss #women


  55. pdjmoo

    50millionmissin #Sex-selection in India. 1m female fetuses killed yearly http://ow.ly/5krQD TAKE ACTION http://ow.ly/5krQE .@UN_Womenwatch


  56. pdjmoo

    @50millionmissin INDIA -1m female fetuses killed/aborted yearly http://ow.ly/5krQD TAKE ACTION http://ow.ly/5krQE .@thegenderwire .@UNICEF


  57. 50 Million Missing

    @50millionmissin INDIA -1m female fetuses killed/aborted yearly http://ow.ly/5krQD TAKE ACTION http://ow.ly/5krQE .@thegenderwire .@UNICEF


  58. pdjmoo

    RT @50millionmissin INDIA -1m female fetuses killed/forced aborted yearly http://ow.ly/5krQD TAKE ACTION http://ow.ly/5krQE


  59. 50 Million Missing

    Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  60. st. onderwijs India

    Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  61. ?Pookie! ????.??????

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  62. Victor Simonnet

    Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  63. Rizwan

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  64. 50 Million Missing

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  65. Rajiv Sharma

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  66. Rita Banerji

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  67. Rizwan

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  68. Rizwan

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  69. Faizu Khan

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  70. 50 Million Missing

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  71. Rita Banerji

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/Ffrk0Rk #gender #sexselection


  72. Rizwan

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/N671WAEr #gender #sexselection


  73. 50 Million Missing

    RT @50millionmissin: Why is India’s female genocide an issue of international concern? http://t.co/N671WAEr #gender #sexselection


  74. 50 Million Missing

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  75. 50 Million Missing

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  76. Safe World Campaign

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  77. houria newsletter

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  78. Michelle McCrory

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  79. I. GILLETTE-FAYE

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  80. I. GILLETTE-FAYE

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  81. Sandrine LERMA

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  82. Sandrine LERMA

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  83. Marcella K

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  84. Cris G

    In US???! RT @50millionmissin: Female #gendercide in U.S., U.K., Norway, Canada too! Need for international action? http://t.co/t6bsYVB7


  85. Roxanna Bennett

    Female #gendercide in the U.S., U.K., Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/FYHFxk7M


  86. Andrea

    "@50millionmissin: Female #gendercide in the U.S, U.K, Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/DCe9BYEP"


  87. 50 Million Missing

    "@50millionmissin: Female #gendercide in the U.S, U.K, Norway and Canada too! A need for international action on this? http://t.co/DCe9BYEP"


  88. 50 Million Missing

    In US???! RT @50millionmissin: Female #gendercide in U.S., U.K., Norway, Canada too! Need for international action? http://t.co/t6bsYVB7


  89. ninjabob

    In US???! RT @50millionmissin: Female #gendercide in U.S., U.K., Norway, Canada too! Need for international action? http://t.co/t6bsYVB7


  90. Rita Banerji

    @rashida_k @womensweb thanks for the link! I am aware. Female gendercide in U.K., Australia, U.S., and Norway! See this http://t.co/oplOtAo7


  91. Rashida

    #tnj MT @Rita_Banerji I am aware. Female gendercide in U.K., Australia, U.S., and Norway! See this http://t.co/HbX6Stxo


  92. Manju Nair

    Indian Girls "missing" worldwide http://t.co/esnqZK16 @50millionmissin @Rita_Banerji @sunny_hundal


  93. Rita Banerji

    Indian Girls "missing" worldwide http://t.co/esnqZK16 @50millionmissin @Rita_Banerji @sunny_hundal


  94. 50 Million Missing

    Indian Girls "missing" worldwide http://t.co/esnqZK16 @50millionmissin @Rita_Banerji @sunny_hundal




  1. sianushka — on 19th May, 2011 at 11:26 am  

    well said. thank you for writing this.

  2. Rumbold — on 19th May, 2011 at 11:39 am  

    Brilliant piece Rita. Thank you for this. Very well researched.

  3. KJB — on 19th May, 2011 at 12:19 pm  

    What sianushka and Rumbold said. Pieces like this should be broadcast as part of the news, frankly.

  4. damon — on 19th May, 2011 at 10:27 pm  

    I have some doubts about this whole campaign and the language used in it. The fact that there are 1500 less girls of Indian origin born in the UK than might have been expected, matters why? Even the term ”feticide” needs at least to be questioed. Gender selection is illegal in some places and legal in others. The same as many medical practices are.
    Of course widescale gender imbalances will have some negative consequences for the wider society, but not being able to find a bride so easily, doesn’t seem to be the biggest problem that I can think of.
    The fact that it is seen as such a problem, could also be a problem itself. Not everyone needs a female partner and to have children. There other kinds of lifestyles and relationships available.

  5. douglas clark — on 20th May, 2011 at 10:05 am  

    Rita Banerji,

    Bloody hell! What a well researched and damning article. Ignore the post immediately above this one.

  6. Quick question — on 20th May, 2011 at 11:10 am  

    We’re told by pro abortionists that the over riding reason that abortion is acceptable is because women have the right to control their own fertility. In that case, since it’s the woman’s right to choose, what objection can there be to her deciding to have an abortion simply on the basis of the gender of the baby?

    Or put it another way, if you’re going to force women to have babies just because the foetus is female why should they be allowed to terminate in other circumstances where their health is not directly at risk?

  7. mangles — on 20th May, 2011 at 2:50 pm  

    Excellent article Rita. This is a topic which still struggles to find column inches, when it should be getting pages.

    Well done for a thorough piece of research and analysis.

    Rab Rakha!

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 20th May, 2011 at 2:56 pm  

    Quick Question, women have abortions because they don’t want a baby full stop. When they feel they must have an abortion on the basis of it being a boy or a girl, there are then two more full stops at the end of that consideration which makes it a dot dot dot, which makes it open for discussion…

  9. douglas clark — on 20th May, 2011 at 3:05 pm  

    Quick Question.

    You do know you’ve tied yourself in a knot?

    Imagine a world in which only boys are born. Imagine it a hundred years later.

  10. Rita Banerji — on 20th May, 2011 at 3:34 pm  

    @Quick Question —

    I want to be very clear on the stand of this campaign on abortion. We do not affiliate with any anti-abortion groups, or campaigns that are supported by anti-abortion groups. For me this is also personal, because while living in the U.S. I was an ACTIVE supporter of the pro-choice lobby, and I have my 1992 badge with me still when I marched with thousands of other men and women in Washington D.C. to keep abortion a safe and legal individual CHOICE for women.

    However, this is not about abortion as an individual choice but selective abortion as a social momentum to prevent en mass and in a systematic and complicit manner, the birth and continuity of women — one half of the human race!

    The reason that 4th article is there in the 1948 U.N. Act on Genocide (please click on the article to read)– that states that the prevention of birth of a group is genocide, is because of Hitler’s eugenics program. This is exactly what Hitler intended. To use bio-technology to perpetuate a certain genotype (in his case the ‘aryans’; in the case of India and China, men), as well to prevent the birth and continuity of other genotypes (in Hitler’s case, the Jews, Romas and other races; and in the case of India and China, women!) The international perpetuation and use of bio-technology to annihilate women on such a massive scale is direct violation of the 4th article of the U.N. Genocide Act. How can it be allowed?

    Let me give you another example. Say for eg. biracial couples in the Europe, U.S. and other western countries suddenly decide they want to only have children that have ‘white’ genes, and eliminate through fetal selection — those that carry African and Asian genes. After all those are their fetuses, and they can decide that they don’t want children that look remotely Asian or African in any way. And they justify it with, the fact that these children will have an easier life in the society they live in and be more successful. And next you know more than 100 million fetuses with African and Asian genes have been selectively aborted. And the only ones allowed to live are the genetically white babies. Is this in any way reminiscent of Nazi Europe?

    One last point — women in Asia — India and China, by and large, traditionally don’t “own” their bodies. They are largely brought up as sexual and reproductive commodities for their husbands and in-laws to use and abuse as they wish. These women are not making personal choices. They are choice-less. They are put through back-to-back pregnancies and abortions, till their bodies give way. But it makes no difference. If the incubator breaks down, get another! India has the largest maternal mortality rate in the world today. 1 woman is killed every 5 minutes, and this is exactly why. Because as a baby incubator her life is as worthless as the female fetuses she carries and is forced to repeatedly abort. See story of Mrs. Ravi here who had 8 back to back abortions because those were girls, carried the 9th — a boy to full term and died 2 days after giving birth. She was a school teacher, educated, professional. her husband was a senior executive in a multinational company. this is not about illiteracy or economics! http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=1624

  11. Quick question — on 20th May, 2011 at 3:39 pm  

    Kismet Hardy,

    The main thrust of the original post was that aborting girls simply because they are girls is wrong.

    I struggle to see how that can logically be argued. We accept in practice that it is OK to abort a child because it has a disability so why it is wrong to abort one because it is a boy/girl? Does a disabled foetus have less rights than a non-disabled one that happens to be of the “wrong” gender?

    We also allow abortions where the mother does not feel that she is capable of having a baby at that particular time. Again why is it OK to abort a foetus conceived at an inconvenient time but not one that has an inconvenient gender?

    If you believe that it is a woman’s right to choose and especially if you believe in abortion on demand then I cannot see any logical reason how you can oppose a woman choosing to abort on grounds of gender as opposed to anything else.

  12. Quick question — on 20th May, 2011 at 4:01 pm  

    Douglas Clark

    so is your opposition to gender based abortion simply that it creates a gender imbalance or do you think that it is morally wrong in and of itself?

    If you believe the former then you are basically saying that you think a woman’s right to choose is secondary to the greater needs of society. That I think has at least as many, if not more, bad implications than a gender imbalance arising in some areas because of the exercise of free choice.

    If you believe the second then can you explain why it is OK to abort on grounds of convenience or disability but not gender? Because I really cannot see any moral difference between those categories.

  13. douglas clark — on 20th May, 2011 at 4:33 pm  

    Quick Question @ 12,

    It is morally wrong to select on the basis of gender. I doubt that most women go through an abortion in any sort of happy frame of mind. And especially if the fetus is healthy.

    What you are not getting your head around is the quite obvious failure of you, dear Quick Question, to address the issue of why?

    Why should female fetus’s be aborted and male fetus’s be not?

    It is about a societal choice and, I suspect, an imposition of a male dominated idea of what ‘worth’ is.

    Do you know how many of these women, left alone, would have carried their female child to term?

    I don’t and you don’t and yet you use it as an argument.

    Frankly, women should be allowed to choose. However it would have to be outwith your quite obvious wish to influence. The arguments are largely economic anyway, and if there is a shortage of women, then the dowry system will be reversed.

    I cannot be bothered with this:

    If you believe the second then can you explain why it is OK to abort on grounds of convenience or disability but not gender? Because I really cannot see any moral difference between those categories.

    It appears I am talking to a fundamentalist Christian and a lunatic at the same time. The problem lies inside your head. There is a moral difference but you can’t see it. Another Libertarian nutter.

    Give it a hundred years or so Quick Question. The human race will be dead and gone.

    Except it won’t, because no-one would accept your argument as reasoned or germane.

    You are quite mad.

  14. Rita Banerji — on 20th May, 2011 at 5:20 pm  

    @Douglas Clark — As odd as it is the so-called “shortage” of brides (about 50 million more males than female in India now) — is making no difference to the dowry system! In fact the dowry system is spreading to communities that never had it before, like the Muslims, Christians, tribal communities, matrilineal communities like in Kerala, and the NE. And that is exactly why the practices of female feticide, infanticide and dowry murders are spreading to these communities.

    The thing is that if a woman is only a sexual and reproductive resource, then when there is resource scarcity, you can work around it — like kidnapping and transporting girls across state and international boundaries (as I mention in the post) or having 4-5 brothers ‘share’ a bride (and the logic here is whoever impregnates her does not matter for it is a continuity of the lineage). Essentially, like all genocides the logic here constantly points to the dehumanization of women.

  15. Don — on 20th May, 2011 at 6:21 pm  

    @11

    We accept in practice that it is OK to abort a child because it has a disability…

    Do we? Most people, I agree, would accept the abortion of a child with a life-limiting and acute disability. A child who will live a short uncomprehending life of pain and distress. But I suspect many people would baulk at abortion because of a cleft palette, say, or Downs if the pregnancy was at all advanced. I’m sure that most people would take steps, if they could, to prevent the conception of a child with disabilities but I doubt that there is a general bland acceptance of aborting the imperfect.

    However, comparing being female to a disability is an interesting point. (I’m sure that isn’t what you meant to imply, but it does raise the point.)

    Is being female a disability? Does it limit one’s life chances? Does it exclude one from a full engagement in normal social life? Does it mean that one is seen as flawed, inferior and a drain on resources? Does it reduce life expectancy significantly? Does it mean that one can have no meaningful participation in the political process?

    Sometimes it does.

    In which case is it better to terminate the female fetus or to find ways to terminate the societal bias which views women as being less worthy of life?

  16. dmra — on 20th May, 2011 at 6:48 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    you keep asserting that there is a moral difference between aborting a female foetus and aborting a disabled one but don’t seem to be able or willing to say what it is. Like I said if you can give me a good reason why you think somebody should forfeit the right to life simply becasue they are disabled then I am happy to be persuaded.

    Rita Banerji,

    my view on abortion in general is this. I do not APPROVE of abortion except in cases where the Mother’s health is genuinely at risk or in the case of conception following violence, deception or rape. However I do SUPPORT the right to have a legal abortion because in my opinion the consequences of criminalising abortion are worse than those of legalising it.

    That is the context in which I said that I cannot see any moral reason why aborting a girl simply becasue she is a girl is any worse than aborting a foetus simply because it has a disabilty, for example, Down’s Syndrome. If you support the right of women to choose then surely it should also be their choice in the case of gender as it is in the case of disability. The only argument that I can see for that not being the case is that a girl is deemed to be of more intrinsic value than a foetus (of whatever gender) which happens to have a disability.

    I suspect that there is a much greater liklihood of a foetus being aborted in India because it has a disability than because it happens to be a girl. You’ve made it clear that you oppose the case of abortion on grounds of gender but haven’t expressed one about abortion on grounds of disabilty. you’ve called the first a genocide so what would you call the second?

  17. nisha — on 20th May, 2011 at 6:53 pm  

    Not surprising. Patriarchy and its son preference doesn’t change its depth or characteristics with the change in location. Aborted is milder compared to neglected, discriminated, raped, enslaved, burnt, mutilated, disfigured, battered … the list is long. All these are just symptomatic of patriarchy.

  18. Sarah AB — on 20th May, 2011 at 6:59 pm  

    Perhaps, given the awkward (yet not illogical) arguments of the contrarians here, you could shift the argument and reflect on the state of (certain sections of) a society in which girls are routinely aborted just because they are girls – even if you accept that such abortions perhaps aren’t so very different, individually, from other types of abortion. It must be dispiriting being female in such an environment.

    I find it difficult to feel sadder on behalf of girls who might have lived than on behalf of boys. But it was still a powerful post of course.

  19. dmra — on 20th May, 2011 at 7:16 pm  

    Don,

    as you may have gathered I am not in favour of the majority of abortions but accept them as a necessary evil. Aborting a foetus for being female is as wrong for me as aborting one which has, not immediately life threatening disability.

    As far as I am concerned people should be valued equally regardless of their physical or mental condition or of their gender. And that applies as much in the womb as outside it. Looking at some of the responses I’ve had to my comments I’m not convinced that everybody posting here believes that to be true.

    As for considering being a women as a disability I think the hypothetical comparison you propose is an interesting intellectual exercise. Both groups may indeed encounter the type of discrimination and prejudice you mention but I still think on the whole I’d prefer to take my chances as an able bodied female than as a disabled person in the overwhelming majority of places in the world.

  20. dmra — on 20th May, 2011 at 7:22 pm  

    Sorry just noticed the change of name. My home computer remembered that I’d posted here a long time ago under a different name from the one I used today at work. It defaulted to the old name and I didn’t realise until now. Just to confirm dmra and quick question are the same person . Apologies for any confusion.

  21. Don — on 20th May, 2011 at 8:10 pm  

    @19

    Then we seem to be in broad agreement, except for the point about the overwhelming majority of places in the world.

    Clearly anybody with a major disability in the overwhelming majority of places in the world is going to be in a hellish situation. But probably not for long.

    But I can think of many places where being male with a comparatively minor disability (loss of hearing or an eye, or a limb or two) would be vastly preferable to being a woman.

  22. damon — on 21st May, 2011 at 12:42 am  

    A good dose of feminism would sort a lot of this out.
    And you’d think that a place like India would be ready for a feminist revolution. What happens? Do all the educated women get corrupted by their elevated status and privilage? A start might be not to be complicit with ”wedding fascism” – to use a very OTT way of putting it. But all the expectations about marriage and weddings are a problem the world over.
    And in India they take it to another level.
    As bad as My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on TV.

  23. frizztext — on 21st May, 2011 at 7:33 am  

    compare the Strauss-Kahn case, the hotel maid gets not much sympathy in France

  24. jamal — on 21st May, 2011 at 12:44 pm  

    frizztext

    in france, strauss-kahn is portrayed as a casanova but in reality he is nothing but a perverted rapist!

    says more about the mentality of some french commentators, they are more angry at strauss-kahn being handcuffed in front of camera’s, than the crime which is alleged i say alleged but the guy has form!

  25. AbuF — on 21st May, 2011 at 1:15 pm  

    “in reality he is nothing but a perverted rapist!”

    In reality, he is the defendant in a court case that will decide his guilt or not, hopefully on the basis of evidence.

    I think you need to be more careful.

  26. jamal — on 21st May, 2011 at 7:23 pm  

    “I think you need to be more careful.”

    are you french?

  27. AbuF — on 22nd May, 2011 at 10:47 am  

    No – I just don’t work on the basis that I claim to know the guilt or otherwise of a person before they have even been tried.

    Are you a complete idiot?

  28. jamal — on 22nd May, 2011 at 4:45 pm  

    no but i think you are

  29. tinku patel — on 24th May, 2011 at 6:40 pm  

    “This practice is not evident in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in the U.K.”

    is this sort of saying hindus and sikhs are the main culprits. a bit ironic when hindu and sikh women have a lot more “gender-equal” lives if they are allowed to be born but muslim girls are just allowed to be born.

  30. Rita Banerji — on 25th May, 2011 at 11:23 am  

    @tinku patel — The Hindu religion may have a role here in permissiveness. There’s mention of female infanticide in the Vedas as well as sati. But there is no such evidence in Sikh literature of religious permission to kill girls and women, or in Islamic literature. In India however practices like female feticide, female infanticide and dowry murders, while earlier evident only among the Hindus (and also Sikhs), over the last 15 years or so have spread to all other religious communities — Muslims, Christians, tribal communities, matrilineal communities in Kerala and the North East. So it seems it is something that’s coming from a certain social logic. I see the spread of the practice of dowry taking as the driving factor here.

  31. tinku patel — on 25th May, 2011 at 9:56 pm  

    thanks rita. good luck with spreading the message

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