The crushing burden of female foeticide

Editorial Two

Statistics can be damning, although they often stir public debates, followed by government action aimed to bring about order, if such data provide a disturbing trend.

A report appearing under our Businesslink in this issue causes concern. Commissioned by SBS Radio, a popular station across the Tasman has suggested the prevalence of female foeticide among the Chinese and Indian communities in Australia.

Appalling data

The Research conducted by Australian Bureau of Statistics, said that the number of female children born to Indian and Chinese children dropped by 1395 between 2003 and 2013.

The Research study indicated “an unusually high number of males born to Australian parents who were both born in either China or both born in India, far exceeding the norm, with 109.5 males born for every 100 females with Chinese born parents and108.2 males born for every 100 females with Indian born parents.”

According to an official of SBS Radio, the figures represent a significant deviation from the norm when considering the standard biological sex birth ratio at birth ranges from 102 to 106 males for every 100 females born. In the same period, in all Australia, there were 105.7 males born for every 100 females born.

Brutal killing

According to Researcher Ahmad N, while women are murdered all over the world, foeticide is the most brutal form of killing females.

“It takes place regularly in some countries like India. Female foeticide or the selective abortion of female foetuses is killing upwards of one million females annually with far-ranging and tragic consequences. In some areas, the sex ratio of females to males has dropped to less than 8000:1000. Females not only face inequality in this culture, they are even denied the right to be born.”

Why do so many families selectively abort baby daughters? In a word: economics.

Aborting female foetuses is both practical and socially acceptable. Female foeticide is driven by many factors, but primarily by the prospect of having to pay a dowry (although illegal) to the future bridegroom of a daughter.

While sons offer security to their families in old age and can perform the rites for the souls of deceased parents and ancestors, daughters are perceived as a social and economic burden. Prenatal sex detection technologies have been misused, allowing the selective abortions of female offspring to proliferate.

Penal offence

Legally, however, female foeticide is a penal offence. Although female infanticide has long been committed in India, foeticide is a relatively new practice, emerging concurrently with the advent of technological advancements in prenatal sex determination on a large scale in the 1990s. While abortion is legal in India, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy solely because the foetus is female.

As Mr Ahmad said, strict laws and penalties are in place for violators.

“These laws, however, have not stemmed the tide of this abhorrent practice.”

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