Female foeticide takes place when a foetus is aborted after it is determined to be female. Under this illegal practice, the sex of the unborn child is determined by using the technique of ultrasound and if it happens to be a female foetus, it is aborted through medicine or surgery. It is one of the most rampant social evils in the country. It is rooted in the patriarchal mindset where boys are preferred over girls for various irrational reasons, not only in rural but urban areas too. We have to raise awareness levels against the regressive practice of female foeticide, enforce laws far more stringently and provide much more incentives to the households for the birth of a girl child.
We are providing here four articles on female foeticide useful for all people especially for students. All the articles are written in simple English language with different word counts of 300, 500, 600 and 800, respectively.
Female Foeticide Articles
Article on Female Foeticide 1 (300 words)
The patriarchal social structure in India and the society’s preference towards a male child is the major reason behind female foeticide. To carry forward the generation, families in general prefer the birth of sons over daughters. The male child is also required by the Hindu family to perform the last rites of father in the absence of which, it is believed that the father would not attain salvation after death.
Menace of dowry
In most traditional, conservative families, a girl child is more or less considered a liability or a burden, due to the frequent demands of huge sum in the form of dowry at the time of her marriage. On the other hand, it is seen that the father of the male child bargains very hard to maximize the benefits of marriage for his son. Though the parents have to face similar ordeals in getting their kids educated and settled in their lives, whether they are boys or girls, however, the mindset inclined towards the baby boy refuses to go, giving way to killing of female foetuses.
Sex determination tests put to wrong use
With the progress of science and technology, it is quite easy to find out the gender of the foetus. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous medical practitioners are also found to be increasingly involved in the illegal trade of carrying out sex-determination tests and later complying with the wishes of the parents for abortion of the foetus, if it is found out to be female.
Conclusion: Female foeticide is nothing but the misuse of pre-natal technology which was invented to detect abnormality in unborn child before it could actually take birth. It’s really very unfortunate that the technology is often used in detecting the sex of the foetus and if it is a girl, then parents have no qualms in getting it aborted.
Article on Female Foeticide 2 (500 words)
Female foeticide is a crime against women as it debars them to take birth. Of late, sex-selective abortions to get only male kids born in the family have gained momentum. Though the medical techniques used to determine sex of the child been helpful in various surgeries or treatments required to avoid complications during the birth and to know more about the health of the unborn baby, however, this technique is being used quite often for sex-selective abortions.
Eliminating female foetus in the womb of a woman is possible with the help of simple techniques starting from ultrasound and then some medicines which forces the foetus to die.
To stop the evil practice of female foeticide, strict punishment in the form of fine or jail to the person requesting abortion of the unborn girl child is prescribed under Pre Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PNDT) Act. Simultaneously the practitioner who helps in sex determination for this purpose is also required to be punished equally.
But the PNDT has failed to check female infanticide as the sex determination and services needed for the same have mushroomed accordingly. Law has been unable to curb the misuse of ultrasound machines by unscrupulous operators. After the determination of female foetus, many women go for abortion of their own accord. Sometimes they forced by their family members who find some medical practitioners willing to carry the surgical procedure against the enforced law.
Though there is little justification for the unscrupulous murder of female foetus, three is an increasing trend of families in urban as well as rural regions across the country going for the illegal practice of sex-determination test. On its part, the government has attempted to regulate the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for legal or medical purposes through the PNDT Act 1994 and has also set up a central body to check killing of female foetus through abortion.
Also, we cannot blame the entire doctor community for carrying out sex-selective tests. It’s only an unscrupulous bunch of doctors who become willing partners of parents in not allowing many girls to come into this world.
Winds of Change
The winds of change have now started blowing in the society with girls doing well in diverse professions, which were considered male-bastions up until now, such as boxing, wrestling, martial arts, armed forces, etc. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save and educate the girl child) has become a countrywide movement. Fortunately, a growing number of medical practitioners have now rallied themselves against the sex selective abortions. The development is very encouraging for the development of the nation and it will also help correct the skewed male-female ratio in many states of the country.
Conclusion: Though there is PNDT Act 1994 in place to prevent the abuse of sex-determination test, we require an attitudinal change in society to abolish the heinous practice of female foeticide. Fortunately, the society is now beginning to realize the importance of the girl child with the result that equal opportunities of nutrition, health, education and employment are now available to women.
Article on Female Foeticide 3 (600 words)
Female foeticide refers to getting rid of the female foetus by surgical termination. This interrupting of the birth of the girl child has led to skewed male-female sex ratio in many states across the country, which has even given rise to trafficking of girls from other parts. All this has resulted in the rampant exploitation of women at the hands of an unjust social order.
Female foeticide is no less than an act of cutting short life, a case of life interrupted but the people indulging in it find willing partners in their crime who are blinded by the lure of money. Ironically, sometimes women themselves surrender to the illegal and immoral practice of getting their female foetus aborted due to family and social pressure.
A legal and immoral Act
As per the provisions of Pre Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PNDT) Act, it is a crime for the couples who request for abortion of the female foetus as well as for the doctors who perform it. In moral terms too, it is an inhumane act of terminating the life of an unborn girl child due to conservative outlook or greed. The parents of the girl child do not realise that they will have to make equal efforts in rearing and settling their child irrespective of gender.
Poor Enforcement of law
Nobody had anticipated that technological advances would lead to female foeticide. Sex screening technologies, though meant to investigate pre-natal complications, became liable for misuse facilitating abortions of female foetuses in India through the 1980s. Subsequently, the Government of India passed the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT) in 1994. This Act underwent further amendment as the Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PCPNDT) Act in 2004 with a mandate to deter and penalise prenatal sex screening and female foeticide. However, all these legal provisions have received poor enforcement.
Signs of Change
Gradually, however, the outlook of society towards the girl child is beginning to change with women proving their worth in all professions, many of which were earlier considered to be the exclusive domains of men. There is increasing awareness with regard to the rights of a girl child for providing them equal opportunities for upbringing, health, education and jobs. The Central and the state governments too are running various programmes and schemes for improving the lot of women in the country and the voices against female foeticide are becoming louder by the day. Consequently, there is marked change in the attitude of women with regard to their abilities to break all barriers in their all-round development.
Let’s stand by the girl child
It is a social and moral responsibility of every citizen of this country to put an end to the practice of female foeticide and also spread awareness about the need for believing in the merits of women to play multiple roles in the life of the nation as they have proven to be outstanding performers in different professions. Nature too has gifted women to play different roles of a daughter, sister, wife and mother with equal ease and success.
Gone are the days when women were considered paraya dhan — meant to take care of their in-laws’ family; they are now individuals in their own right, who are leaving a distinct mark in all professions, while managing their homes and families too. They are bringing laurels to their parents as well as their country. In the recently, held Rio Olympics 2016, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik upheld the honour of their countries by winning silver and bronze medals, respectively in the otherwise lacklustre tally of India.
Article on Female Foeticide 4 (800 words)
In a country where, as per scriptures, Gods reside in places where a woman is worshiped (Yatra Nari Astu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devataa), female foeticide is an ironical but sad truth. It has become a grave social issue across the country. Female foetuses are killed in the wombs of their mothers through Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) by a ruthless society that prefers sons over daughters.
The bane of dowry
In many traditional, conservative families, a girl is considered a liability or burden, due to the evil practice of demanding dowry at time of marriage. Often, she is also subjected to sexual harassment, molestation, rape and beating, prompting the parents to fear the prospect of rearing, educating, protecting or marrying off their daughters. Daily newspapers are full of the news about molestation, rapes, acid-throwing, sexual harassment, bride beating and burning, which accentuate the apprehension of families regarding a girl child, All these things, in turn, encourage the practice of aborting the foetus in case it is determined to be female.
Misuse of pre-natal tests
There is increasing trend of the misuse of the pre-natal technologies which are used to determine pre-birth deficiencies or infirmities in a child. Aiding the massacre of unborn girls are the mushrooming ultrasound clinics who connive with parents in carrying out sex-determination tests and killing the child in the womb, in case it is found out to be a girl. Such unscrupulous people deserve strictest punishment but they are able to escape the law in most cases due to inadequacies in the law enforcing mechanism.
Traditional, conservative families are still unable to shake off their longing for a son as they tend to believe that only sons can carry their family names forward and also look after them in their old age. They also subscribe to the notion that only when funeral rites are performed by a son that the deceased attains salvation.
According to 2011 Census, the birth of girls was pegged at 914.23 for every 1,000 boys in the age group 0-6 years, contrary to 927.31 for every 1,000 boys in the 2001 Census. Except improvement in the sex ratio in Kerala, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, all other states have reported decrease in the number of girls, notable among them being Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh and Gujarat.
Change in the air
But gradually, the winds of change have started blowing across the society as girls are doing exceptionally well in various professions, bringing a sense of pride and recognition to their families, cities and nation. They have broken all barriers and excelled in all fields, be it sports, armed forces, business or politics. In the recently held Rio Olympics 2016, only two women were the lone medal winners for India – P V Sindhu in badminton and Sakshi Malik in wrestling. The field of politics today is also dominated by women – Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sheila Dixit; Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Vasundhra Raje, Menaka Gandhi, Smriti Irani, Pankaja Munde, Mamata Bannerjee, Mayawati, Brinda Karat, and Mehbooba Mufti.
But miles to go…
Consequently, social attitudes towards women are changing, leading to their empowerment, still we cannot say that it has put an end to the practice of female foeticide as it will take time for the change in mindsets to percolate down to all towns and cities of the country. Generally, after the birth of two or more girls, many parents go for sex-selective tests and go ahead with the pregnancy only if the foetus is found to be a male.
In some rural areas where people cannot go for sex-determination tests, female foeticide degenerates into female infanticide wherein a girl child is killed after birth by unimaginably horrible methods – she is strangulated, poisoned, dumped in garbage bins, drowned, burnt alive, or starved to death. Sadly, such crimes are committed by mothers or other female members of the household all because they are prisoners of their own regressive, medieval outlook.
Generally, in urban areas too, things are not different on the ground. The desire for a male child is common across households irrespective of their socio-economic conditions. So, the educated couples take recourse to ultrasound techniques of determining the gender of their unborn child and in case it is found to be female, they have no qualms about terminating it through MTP.
Conclusion: The root cause of the still prevalence of female foeticide in the 21st century is the age-old patriarchal mindset where sweets are distributed after the birth of a baby boy but the birth of a girl plunges the family into unexplained sadness. We need to empower girls in every sense of the term – educational, social, economic and political so that Indian families learn to practice no-discrimination with regard to the gender of their child.