Feticide is an act that roots to the death of a foetus. In the legal aspects, it is described to the deliberation or subsidiary killing of a foetus due to a delinquent human act, such a gust to the abdomen or stomach of a pregnant woman. As a curative term, feticide is the demolition of a foetus, for example as the first phase of a legitimate prompt abortion. After some specific situations, it’s unavoidable and legal especially in the developing phase of pregnancy, it is long discussed. But the sex discriminatory abortion is not at all tolerable. ‘Historically, in the non-appearance of genetic testing, infants were the only inhumane options for getting rid of the female child. This dangerous practice pursues today in the southern parts of India where families cannot arrange or manage an illegal ultrasound test.
People in Punjab, Haryana, and other Western states can arrange an illegal test to determine the sex of the baby and throw it away’. Some of the worst gender ratios, indicating flagrant breach of women ‘s rights, are found in South and East Asian countries such as India and China. The resolution of the sex of the foetus by ultrasound scanning or inspecting, amniocentesis, and artificial insemination fertilization has exasperated this situation. No moral-ethical principle holds up such a course of action for gender identification. The circumstances are furthermore aggravated a lack of perception of women’s rights and by the indifferent attitude of governments and medical experts. In the present legislation for prevention of sex determination needs strict execution, at the same time it needs the launching of programs sighted at altering attitudes, including all those prevalent in the medical profession.
In the current report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, up to 50-60 million girls and women are mislaid from India’s population as a result of structured gender prejudice in India. The findings of this report have been inscribed by the sex ratio figures of the Census 2001. Since the time of the preference for a son has been a prevalent norm in a customary Indian household. “May you be the mother of a hundred son’s” – this is the blessing given to a Hindu woman in India on her wedding day or whenever she touches the feet of her elders. And when she is on the way to becoming a mother, there is the customary chanting of mantras by the other women of the family, calling for the foetus, if female, to be changed into a male. Abortion is never going to be a new thing in Indian society.
Factors Leading to Female Foeticide: –
● Economic Factors-
Female Foeticide in the 21st century has a significant deal to do with capitalist modernism. There are particular features of it lying behind these circumstances. Cultural politics of dowry in Indian society have a lot of answers for this harmful phenomenon or circumstance. According to the last centuries, the recorded dowry deaths are increasing. Nearly 7-8000 per year newly wedded girls are murdered for the lack of full payment of dowry. Almost 4-5000 brides are committing suicides for dowry, domestic violence, and rape. Brides are treated as objects and the pre-marriage and marriage had been narrated as an expenditure oriented reproductive journey.
● Socio ritual Factors-
Females are endangered to cruelty and the male in the forms of physical, mental, and sexual smacks and injuries by the patriarchal societal formation or structure of India. Females are conquered, castigates, and deprived in the domain of life. Every guardian of a girl child is at danger for their daughter in this patriarchal society for the mentioned causes. Again, for the burial ceremonies of the parents, the presence of a son is a must. According to Manu,
“A man cannot achieve moksha (redemption) unless he has a son to light his burial suttee.”
● Technological Factors-
Female foeticide is the latest drift of long-established orthodox on gender bias. We all are educated with time and our killing girl babies have also been civilized. The presence of cheap technologies or machinery like ultrasound, have led to sex-based feticide of female foetuses, and an increasingly smaller percentage of girls born babies every year.
● Population policy-
Indian family organization policies promote and encourages a two-child family and health workers say this frequently leads to feticide of female foetuses in efforts to have a “complete and absolute family” with at least one son.
Consequences of Female Foeticide
Given the beneath value placed on women in Indian society, prenatal sex determination with the intention of stopping girls birth must be noticed as an embodiment of violence and cruelty against women, a violation of their human rights. The pregnant woman, though often equally worried to have a boy, is frequently persuaded, through such policies. Many women suffer from psychological injury and damage as a result of protest undergoing repeated feticides. Demographers notified that in the upcoming next 20 years there will be a scarcity of girls in the marriage field just because of the unfavorable juvenile sex ratio, integrated with an overall decline in fecundity. While fertility is decreasing more speedily in urban and unskilled families, the preference for male children remains strong.
For these families, modern medical advancements are within easy reach. Selective feticide and sex selection are becoming more common these days. In rural areas, as the number of women is decreasing, men would tend to marry women who are younger to them in age, leading to a rise in fertility rates and also higher rates of population growth. The abduction of girls is a related phenomenon. In the recent report, it was said that young girls from Assam and West Bengal are kidnapped and sold into marriage in neighboring Haryana.
Laws that makes female foeticide illegal-
Due to all these roots and entanglement of female foeticide, many laws have been implemented from time-to-time to command the jeopardy or hazardous situations. India passed it’a first abortion or feticide-related laws in 1971, basically called Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which made abortion legit in almost all states of the country, but it was specifically made for the instances and occurrence of medical risk to the mother and child comes up with danger like rape. The law had also entrenched physicians who could lawfully execute the feticide in the said scenarios. But the authority had not considered the possibility of female foeticide based on technological advances. Due to this reason, this law demonstrated to be highly unproductive. In the 1980s the sex screening technologies in India were easily approachable to the common people. Due to this reason, a large number of reports started streaming in about the abuse of the sex screening technologies.
All in all, this problem, the Government passed the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT) in 1994. This law was revised again due to different grounds, and it finally became Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act in 2004. Its main goal was to take preventions and give punishment to prenatal sex screening and female foeticide.
Implementation of law-
Most major changes and differences were made in the PCPNDT Act, 2004. It came up with technologies like ultrasound and maternity to its extent. It also guided the empowerment or delegacy of the Central Supervisory Board and the formation of the State Level Supervisory Board. The rules, laws, and penalizing are made more rigid. In spite of all these changes, it has been said that the execution of this act has turned into a burlesque. It has been nearly two decades since the law came into force and in spite of this, has not made many changes have taken place in the society. In spite of pronouncements given by the Supreme Court and various different High Courts to make the living law an obstruction, the courts have shown their uncertainty in sending the criminals off to jail. The sentences in many cases have been let off only by a trifling warning by the judge which has led to a pile of negative reactions from the legitimate fraternity as well as social and educational activists. Legal practitioners and activists have an accord demanded strict penalizing for the at-fault while also fixing the responsibility of the knowledgeable authorities handling and grasping the cases of sex perception.
The unsuccessful execution of the legislation is obvious in India’s skewed or twisted gender ratio. If it is possible to stop or avoid abortion and foeticide of females by legal enforcements on the demand and supply sides, female infants will see the light and breathe the air of the earth. Even if there is no direct female infanticides, accidental infanticides must occur until and unless our conceptions regarding different money-making, communal, and traditional reasons about the girls are changed. India has yet to go a long way in her frails against pre-birth termination or quashing of females. Time is quickly moving away. A collective effort by the medical professionals, the legislation, political leaders, NGOs, media, teachers, and every section of society itself is the need of the hour.
The preference for a male child in large sections of our society is the root cause of a disparity sex ratio. Pregnant women are often unaware or unconscious of how female feticide influence the sex ratio of men and women. Education plays an important role in women’s life; higher education expands the dimensions of the thought process of human beings or individuals and it is also true that an educated woman can educate her forthcoming seven generations and ages. But we cannot avoid the reality of the fact that after getting a good education there are many limitations which were waiting for women like family pressure, males dominant behavior, less power on resources, etc. which has leaped the footsteps of women to take her own resolutions and finally she had to do all they want. “We do not have the time to play around with these chocolates and ice-cream mixtures and solutions”, have to do something more serious.
All companies and organizations must immediately join hands and launch a stricter crackdown so that no medical professional in this homicidal practice can run away. The research made it specified that a woman whether educated, rich, or poor was not conscious of her own identification. It may be finished that the prohibit of sex-determination test, though a necessary and urgently required step, is not the final solution to the problem. In the long run, social prejudices against women have to be overcome by ameliorating her status in society.
- Tooley, M. (1984) abortion and infanticide, Oxford University Press
- Warren, M. A. (1991) Abortion included in A Companion to Ethics edited by Singer, P. Blackwell Publishers Limited
- Gurung M. Female Feticide. Available on-URL: www.hsph.harvard.edulgrhf-asialforums
- Female feticide continues unabated in India. Available at www.dailymail.co.uk. 4th July 2006
- Selection – Gender Selection Available at: http://www.familyjoy.netlpages/sexselection
Frequently asked questions
- What is the punishment for female feticide?
According to the PNDT act, it gives punishment for 3 years confinement and a penalty of 50,000 or both.
- How can we prevent female feticide?
By the process of (Preconception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 (PC&PNDT Act), the female feticide can be prevented in a broad sense.
- What are the main reasons for the female feticide?
The main reasons for the female feticide are- sex ratio, lack of development, lack of education system, violence against women, etc.
- What’s the percentage of female feticide in India in the private sector?
In the private sector, 30% of women preferably go with surgical abortion and 70% preferably go with medical abortion.
- What is the MTP Act, 1971?
This act keeps the identity of the women confidential. Instead of names, it recognizes the women by the specific numbers. It’s because women don’t feel hesitant while stepping into the hospitals.