We’d like to believe that in a society like ours we would be wise with our choices, that we would be wise with our technology. Those on the Pro-Choice side of the argument like to downplay the number of children slaughtered because “it wasn’t the right time, etc.” and play up those that were done because of rape or incest simply because it’s hard to argue a person can be selfish.
The problem is that when you mix the “right to choose” with ultrasound technology that is getting better by the year, you tend to get some grisly results– and the same could happen here in different areas.
This past week, Virtuous Blonde and I were hoping to find out what the sex of our latest collaborative endeavor to bear and raise children. To our dismay (her’s more than mine!), the technician was only able to give us a 85% possibility that our next offspring would be female. Although she’s relishing the idea of breaking the bank with purchases of little girl’s clothes, 85% doesn’t seem like it’s enough to go out and do that quite yet.
In India, this child would probably never see the light of day alive. That is because in India, boys are preferred over girls:
The incident, which officials say was India’s worst case yet uncovered of the abortion of healthy female fetuses, may be only the tip of the iceberg.
According to a study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, about 10 million female fetuses may have been aborted in India over the last 20 years.
Traditionally, India’s patriarchal society has preferred boys over girls. Across its rural landscape an often-used blessing for daughter-in-laws is “May you be the mother of 100 sons”.
In Punjab and the neighboring state of Haryana, where many girls are believed to be killed in the womb or soon after birth, sex ratios have been heavily skewed.
According to the 2001 census, the latest official population data, the national sex ratio was 933 girls to 1,000 boys whereas in Punjab it was 798 girls to 1,000 boys in 2001, compared to 875 in 1991.
The drop in the number of girls is believed to be due to the availability of ultrasounds, allowing parents to find out their baby’s gender before birth and clearing the way for an illegal abortion, rather than infanticide after childbirth.
Regardless of when this child is killed, it’s still murder. Before you start thinking “but this is the United States. We would never kill a healthy child just because it is a girl!” Think about the kinds of tests that are being run on pregnant mothers. Virtuous Blonde was asked about tests for Down’s Syndrome. There are also tests out there for spina bifida, etc.
None of these tests are conclusive, with people getting false positives and negatives, and yet the advice that you may get from some doctors is that if your child may have one of these (or other) ailments you may want to consider “saving them the grief of being born to die or the hassle of raising a child with special needs.”
You see, this is the same logic that is used in India– one child, one person, is valued more than another. In fertility clinics people are now choosing the sex of embryos before going through treatment in order to have a choice of the sex of the child. How is this different than the Indians? Certainly it may be that a couple chooses a girl, but what about those boy embryos?!
Singh was ordered by police in early August to dig up pits on the grounds of a private hospital in Pattran, a small town in the Punjab state, which was suspected of operating an illegal abortion clinic.
It was a job that would change his life.
Over the next few hours, he removed the remains of scores of unborn babies from two deep pits, an experience he says he will never forget and one which leaves him struggling for breath at night and unable to enjoy the company of friends.
Singh says he removed the flesh and bones of around 300 aborted babies. The authorities say it was somewhere between 20 to 100 fetuses and they assume that all were female although gender tests results will only be ready next month.
The scale of the abortions has shocked even the most hardened of observers, including Virinder Singh Mohi, a senior health official who supervised the exhumation of the fetuses.
“We have been very lucky to bust this racket otherwise this so-called doctor would have continued to kill hundreds of girls,” said Mohi.
The scary thing is that this is not just happening in India and far off places, it’s happening in our own backyards but we’re doing a better job covering our tracks and euphamizing the process.