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The Evil of Female Foeticide

Ancient Indian Vedic scriptures gave more importance to goddess devotion. A female was called the साम्राजिनि, the home’s queen and mistress, who was to get an equity percentage in religious ritual success. Manu, the rules-giver said, Gods are pleased everywhere females are honoured, but rituals and offerings are ineffective where they are not valued.

While attitude for bearing sons is now widespread in the Indian population since time immemorial, then Vedic social system won’t impact that part of the population under its fold which gave importance to female supremacy. Slowly through other traditions, practices and beliefs have made their way into the households of the country. Typically a newly-wed bride is fortunate to be a ‘hundred-son mother.’ Whenever a woman gets pregnant, mantras are sung by many other women within the family, exhorting the female embryo to be converted into a male. In India, female infanticide has indeed been practised for thousands of years, with Sir Jonathan Duncan in 1789 providing the earliest known.

Also, with the advent of modern technologies, the stigma that females have endured from birth to the grave is expanded to the womb to the tomb. The objective is to focus on the actual problem of female feticide and its relevant attributes and the concern about the harmful sex ratio of children and their consequences.

Female Foeticide

In India, unlike every other Western society, there is a clear preference for male children over their daughters. Pregnancies are arranged through the use of differential contraception-the use of contraceptives is determined by the number of living sons, regardless of family size. Fetal sex is determined by prenatal diagnostic procedures in which the female fetuses are aborted in birth. Fetus’s sex determination and medical skilled sex-selective abortion has developed into 1,000 crores (US$ 244 million) industry.

Gender discrimination against women was encouraged, as was a preference for a male child. Since 1991, 80 per cent of India’s districts have registered an increasingly male sex ratio with the state of Punjab having the most male sex ratio. The gender ratio in India’s 0-6 age category went from 104.0 males per 100 women in 1981 to 105.8 in 1991, to 107.8 in 2001, to 109.4 in 2011, according to the decennial Indian census. For certain states like Punjab and Haryana, the ratio has been considerably higher.

Causes of Female Foeticide

The horrific killings of a female fetus are primarily based on two grounds. One such is the practice of choice. Many researchers think female feticide happens because of some kind of male child’s choice. They are favored because they do manual labor, they are the family’s food earners or we can say the ones who will make the resources available to the family and lead the family lineage. For places where cultural standard favors a male child over a female child, selective abortion of a female child becomes more normal. A male child is often regarded as an asset in such a family, and a daughter, a liability.

The second explanation relates to the financial pressure. In India, giving birth to a daughter is assumed to be a tremendous financial strain. You have to spend a significant amount of money on a daughter’s living and in the end the marriage. People often have to mortgage their house, or even sell it all for the marriage of a daughter. Often they have to take loans which will also be paid by subsequent generations. Despite this, a daughter is seen as a financial burden that not many families in our country want to carry not even the educated ones, who call themselves modernized people.

Causes of Female Foeticide

Like Newton’s Third Law of Motion says, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, the following consequences of such genocide are lethal which have a long-lasting effect. This is indeed a tragedy that so many have unintentionally welcomed in almost everyone’s life. The consequences of female foeticide are long-term and devastating in practice. A few of these are-

  • Declining Sex Ratio
    In India, the proportion of females per 1000 males is declining with each passing decade. Between 962 and 945 girls for every 1000 boys in the years 1981 and 1991 respectively, the gender ratio had fallen to an all-time low of 927 girls per 1000 boys in 2001.
  • Female Trafficking
    The significant decrease in the number of females enables them scarce for the rising number of potential males for marriages. Due to all this cause, human trafficking of women is becoming widespread in several areas. Women, often young girls who’ve merely reached puberty, are forced to marry for just a price assimilated by the groom to be. They are typically purchased from neighbouring regions, where the number of females may not be as comparatively small as the hosted zone. Child marriages have been a panic and infant births, a devastating result.
  • Increase in the Rape Cases, and Sexual Assaults
    Once females become a threatened species, it’s just a matter of time until the cases of sexual assault, harassment and brutality are becoming common. Owing to the decrease in the availability of women, the remaining ones are confronted with the challenges of managing a culture powered by a testosterone surge. The judicial system may provide some safeguards, but several cases would not even come up to the real world of crime and justice, because of the fear of desolation and embarrassment to the girl and her family.
  • Population Decline
    Without any mothers or wombs to raise an infant (boys or girls), there will be decreased deliveries, leading to a significant decline in the country’s population. Although control of a population is really the aim of many countries like China and India, a complete wipe-out of one race is definitely not the way of solving the problem. Owing to all of these reasons and consequences of female feticide, several laws were enacted from time-to-time to regulate this threat.

Laws relating to Female Foeticide

India introduced the very first abortion-related law in 1971, and this so-called Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which rendered abortion legal for almost every state of the country, but it was specially rendered for the cases of medical danger to the mother and infant conceived by rape. The legislation had also identified doctors who could lawfully conduct the termination in any such situations. However, the government still hadn’t addressed the probability of female feticide based on technical advancements. Due to this cause, this law considered being extremely unsuccessful.

During the 1980s, sex screening technology in India became readily available to the general public. Thanks to this cause, a significant number of incidents began coming in around the misuse of sex screening technologies. Understanding this issue, the Government introduced the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT) in 1994. This law also was modified due to different problems, and then it ultimately had become the Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PCPNDT) Act in 2004. Its primary objective was avoidance and punishment of prenatal sex diagnosis and female feticide.

Implementation of the Act

Numerous essential modifications were implemented in the PCPNDT Act, 2004. It managed to bring ultrasound and amniocentesis underneath the remit. These also help with the empowerment of both the Central Supervisory Board as well as the creation of State Level Supervisory Board. The laws, legislation, and penalties are more serious and are meant to be strictly adhered to.

Even after all these reforms, it is often said that the introduction of such an act has turned into some kind of farce. It has been almost two decades since the legislation came into effect and despite this, not many reforms have taken place in the community.

Even after judgments given by the Supreme Court as well as numerous High Courts to make the current law an insurmountable barrier, the courts have also shown their reluctance in throwing the criminals off to prison. The convicts in many cases are being let off by just a simple notice by the judge that has led to a widespread adverse response from the legal profession as well as social and academic activists. Lawyers and protest groups have unanimous support requested stringent punishment for the accused whilst still fixing the responsibility of the competent authorities managing the instances of sex diagnosis.

Conclusion

Through many mediums, awareness about female foeticide is being spread across the nation. Let it be plays, soap operas, mass awareness programs, advertisements, endorsement by various celebrities, Beti Bachao campaign, rallies, posters, etc. Everyone is trying to spread the message everywhere.  Despite all these efforts, the sex ratio of our country is not improving.

As per the 2011 Census, there have been approximately 110 boys for 100 girls. This indicates how we have ruined the sex ratio in our world. We may blame the government, the NGO’s or the community as a whole because of whatever we want but until the time the general public does not recognize the importance of a girl child in a family or the society, this issue will not be resolved. The citizens of this nation need to realize that each and every action has a consequence.

Due to widespread female feticide, the requirement for females for marriage has escalated throughout the whole world. Owing to such a cause, the flesh trade has increased. From one way or the other, it’s really the female that suffers. Humans need to recognize the importance of a female. After all, they represent one-half of the population. They must be given the very same priority and consideration that a male receives in the community.


Editor’s Note
The article talks about prioritizing the reforms and implementation of laws as such to prevent the misuse of technology by so-called educated people in society. It gives a brief description of the problem in its introduction and the problems that this will lead us to. It addresses the laws and the failure that lead to its strict implementation. This shows us the mirror of what our society actually looks like and we as the citizens of our country will have to realize the importance of such an issue that needs to be looked over at effectively.

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