Female foeticide – Bitter truth of society

The process of finding out the sex of a foetus and then undergoing abortion if it is a girl is called Female foeticide.

According to certain section of the Indian penal code for forced abortion ,causing death of an unborn child or intentionally preventing a child being born alive are punishable offence.

The Indian government has passed Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) in 1994 to ban and punish prenatal sex screening and female foeticide.

It is currently illegal in India.

Besides this the prenatal diagnostic technique regulation and prevention of misuse act consider engaging and sex selective abortion using prenatal diagnosis technique are punishable.

Why I am killed by my parents
Could I harm someone
Or can I do something wrong
If no then why I am  killed by my parents
Why they killed me
Just tell me
Were my dreams only for dying…?
Was I meant nothing for you?
Why your hand don’t tremble while taking my life?
Please don’t kill me …
I also wants to live
I also want to enjoy every moment of my life
Please don’t kill me

The natural sex ratio is assumed to be between 103 and 107, and any number above it is considered as suggestive of female foeticide.

Sex selection is a practice which takes place among some uneducated,poor sections or a particular religion of the Indian society.

According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in 0 to 6 age group in India has risen from 102.4 males per 100 females in 1961, to 104.2 in 1980, to 107.5 in 2001, to 108.9 in 2011.

Child sex ratio is significantly higher in certain western and northwestern states such as MaharashtraHaryanaJammu and Kashmir (118, 120 and 116, as of 2011, respectively).

The western states of Maharashtra and Rajasthan 2011 census found a child sex ratio of 113, Gujarat at 112 and Uttar Pradesh at 111.

Urban India has higher child sex ratio than rural India according to 19912001 and 2011 Census data, implying higher prevalence of female foeticide in urban India.

The following table presents the child sex ratio data for India’s states and union territories, according to 2011 Census of India for population count in the 0-1 age group.The data suggests 18 states/UT had birth sex ratio higher than 107 implying excess males at birth and/or excess female mortalities after birth but before she reaches the age of 1, 13 states/UT had normal child sex ratios in the 0-1 age group, and 4 states/UT had birth sex ratio less than 103 implying excess females at birth and/or excess male mortalities after birth but before he reaches the age of 1.

Due to male dominancy in society ,the male babies are preferred because they provide manual labour and success to the family lineage.

A son is preferred as an asset since he can earn and support the family but a daughter is a liability since she will be married off to another family or she will not contribute financially to her parent or due to dowry system.

Dowry is the payment from bride’s family to the groom family at the time of marriage.

Dowry is the main reason behind the female foeticide.

Dowry system legally ended with the dowry prohibition act of 1961 ,the impossibility of monitoring families and prevalence of corruption have led to its continuance all over India.

The advancement in technology is the major cause of female foeticide.

Some doctors do this act to fulfill their moneydesire

People in India usually see men’s work as “productive” and contributing the family, while the social perception of female labor does not have that connotation. This also ties to the fact that it is easier for men in India to get high paying jobs and provide financially for their families.

Role of panchayat members

Panchayat members should

  • give accurate information on the laws pertaining to this issue
  • find out where it is being practiced in the village and investigate it immediately
  • register all births and deaths under the purview of the panchayat
  • raise awareness about gender sensitivity through public education programmes
  • prevent female foeticide with assistance from the ANM and local mid-wife.

Increasing awareness of the problem has led to multiple campaigns by celebrities and journalists to combat sex-selective abortions.