6,29,000 girls (aged 0–6 years) are estimated to be missing in India every year.
The majority of them are aborted; others are killed, abandoned or neglected to death just because they are girls. The roots of this problem lie in a strong patriarchal society that has translated into an obsessive preference for sons and acumen against girls. Chances of survival for a second born girl after a first daughter are less if the family is well educated and rich. These families live in urban areas where they have access to ultrasound scans and can afford the price for the abortion. Although prenatal sex-detection and sex-selective abortion is illegal, many clinics provide these services. These days money speaks more than anyone and anything. In poorer communities, where there aren’t many ultrasound clinics, daughters are instead abandoned or killed after being born, or lost through neglect. There are several incidences in India where girl is dumped in dustbin, or thrown out of car soon after the birth.
With the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971, abortion in India became legal up to twenty weeks and under specific conditions such as medical risk to mother. Gender-based abortions have been illegal since 1994 with the Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. But breaking rules and law is not new to us. As many as laws are made, the errant of laws are in multiple numbers. This is an analysis of the problem from the inside, a research of reasons and related factors to draw a picture of the foeticide and infanticide in India. There are an estimated 2-10 times as many illegal as legal terminations, and sepsis resulting from abortions performed by nonqualified practitioners is a major contributor to maternal mortality. Continued reliance on illegal abortion is believed to reflect fear of surgery and anesthesia, a lack of access to abortion clinics, and social and cultural factors, especially a lack of confidentiality and privacy.
Planned Parenthood has been relentless in its efforts to kill babies in India since 1936. India continues to be the second largest country in the world,19 per cent of India’s population is in the 15-24 age group and over half a billion are under 25 years of age. This translates into a perfect opportunity for Planned Parenthood to turn a profit by selling abortion — the flip side of which is to push for more population control. Planned Parenthood targets the poor and vulnerable with “no refusal” and “free abortion” promotions.
The Family Planning Association of India is the founding member of IPPF. Similar to the strategic placement of Planned Parenthood facilities in black and Hispanic neighbourhoods in the United States, FPAI’s facilities in India are mostly placed in slums and other parts of the city — conveniently to prey on poor, innocent, and often illiterate women and children. According to its annual report, the Family Planning Association of India committed 165,955 abortions in the country in 2016 and 145,522 abortions in 2015. The organisation uses tactics to draw in vulnerable, impoverished women and girls, such as a ‘No refusal policy’ — meaning that they will not refuse to commit an abortion for any reason — and certain months in which they actually offer ‘free abortion service.’ This opens the door for the abortion facility to exert greater influence in a woman’s life with more contraception and sex education.
Lobbying for liberalising abortion is another important part of FPAI’s mission in India. The agency influences members of Parliament, pushing for amendments to the country’s existing abortion laws to expand legal abortion from 20 to 24 weeks and to allow non-medical practitioners to dispense the abortion pill.
According to a recent report published in the Lancet Medical Journal, almost 16 million abortions were committed in India in 2015. This, along with the push for hormonal contraception, massive abortion epidemic has increased the risk of breast cancer epidemic and other health crisis for which the country is totally unprepared.
Son preference is deeply rooted in Indian culture and manifests in various ways, including sex-selective practices before birth and inequitable access to educational, social and economic resources for girls. Fifty-five per cent of women aged 15–19 disagreed with five out of five reasons offered for why a husband would be justified in hitting his wife. Three-fifths (60%) agreed that a wife is justified in refusing sex for the following reasons: knowing her husband has had sex with other women, knowing he has an STI, or feeling tired or not in the mood.
Among married 15–19-year-olds, only 40% reported that they had sole say over their own health care or made such decisions jointly with their husband; for the remaining 60% of married young women, their health care is not in their control.
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