Issue of Sex-Selective Abortion
Sex-selective abortion is the practice of ending a pregnancy due to the predicted gender of the baby. It has been occurring for centeriues in many countries many people believe that males are more valuable than females. This practice has been happening in many Asian countries but even in the US many Asians still hold strong to those beliefs. Due to these beleifs there is a huge shift in sex ratio in Asian countries. People are using the technology to determine the sex of the baby and terminating the pregency if it is not the preferred gender. There have been many consequences that have occurred due to sex-selective abortions such violence against women, not enough females for marrying. Sex-selective abortions have been banned in many parts of India they abortions are still on the rise (Srivastava, 2014). There does not seem be any advances to end sex-selective abortions until the society is better educated on gender equality.
There have been many attempts made to reduce the number of sex selective abortions but they have been unsuccessful. Pacifically in India some states have a law in place that prohibits the coustom of dowry from girls family. Before the techonolgy some people use to kill the female child by buring them alive or leaving them somewhere. Nowadays people are able to know the gender of the baby sooner and get abortions if it is not what they want. In India some states have banned doctors to disclose the gender of the baby during ultrasounds and banned abortions. This law did not prevent clinics from practicing abortions or people would find an other clinic that would perform it. Most of the times sex-selection abortions are not by the choice of the expecting mother, but by the choice of the in-laws or other extended families. If people are caught, their entire family could go to jail for at least seven years. Due to this non abortion law newborn baby girls are often found in trash cans, gutters, or even on streets. According to Mohanty (2012), thousands of baby girls are abandoned each year because of sex selection and most abandoned babies die.
In Indian society, the men carry on the bloodline of the family; the property goes to the son when he marries his wife and she moves in with her in-laws. Many people think that “raising a girl is like watering your neighbor’s plant” (Davara, Mehta, & Parmar, 2014). Once women are married they are often treated poorly in their new home. Females are often beaten or burned to death due to their in-laws not receiving enough dowry.
Most of the marriages in India are arranged marriages. Females feel they need to stay in a abusive marriage because living alone, or coming back to her parent’s house puts shame on her and her family. Females are placed in vicious cycles because if they speak up against violence it will put more shame on their family. In Indian society, the family honor has a lot to do with the way a girl is suffering. If a girl is seen flirting with a boy people will start creating romors about the girl and her family while it is not a big deal for the boy. A large number of girls are raped in India every day, but people will blame the girl for being raped. Many parents would rather have their daughter die than being raped. There are many incidences where the girls who are raped, harassed, or molested never speak up due to the fear of shame. If anyone does find out, they will blame the girl for being raped, and not the person who raped her.
This sex selection abortion is not only a problem in India but it is the problem of people that lived there. There are many Asian families in the US today that have sex selective abortions in the US but no one talks about it because many Americans do not think of gender when it comes to abortion. I was raised in the USA my second niece was born last week and people are calling and saying how bad they feel that hopefully next time there will be a baby boy. Even when girls are not aborted, families are still disappointed when a girl is born into their family. It does not matter where people move or change their lives it is hard to change someone’s mentality. It was surprising because there are more females in universities than males. They have equal opportunity and people still view female gender degrading. Times are changing because more females are obtaining higher education and are gaining independence, but the issue of honor and gender inequality still persists today. There are many different religions, but not one of them says it is ok to have an abortion. There is a big difference between religion and social norm; people are blending these two ideas together. Most religions are about respecting each other and valuing human life, but old traditions and societal norms create these unfair statuses which place men higher than women. Even though the society is slowly making progress in gender equality, this social change has been met with resistance from people who wish to stick to traditional values.
Changing societal mindset is not easy to do since the roots of the problem run deep throughout history and one of the first hurdles to stopping sex-selection abortion is by promoting equality between the two sexes to prevent further discrimination.
A decrease in women leaves many men unable to marry and start a family of their own. Often times the lack of opportunity to participate in such traditions leave men with low self-esteem, sexual frustration, and a higher chance of succumbing to a variety of psychological issues. Societies predominantly consisting of men are a direct consequence of sex-selection abortions and it is evident that issues arise when there are not enough females present in a community. Sex-selection abortions not only create unstable masculine societies, but they also bear detrimental effects on the women who are currently living in these gender-preference communities. In societies that values boys more than girls and the ratio are being skewed the gender difference will keep increasing with time. The females would not have voice because everyone in the society knows that they are not wanted. The worst part is for a female child to grow up in a family where they feel as they are a burden or they were not wanted. When living in a society that does not value each sex equally, it becomes a requirement for women to produce sons to remain within the norm. However since reproduction is a coin toss when it comes to the sex of the fetus, the mother has no control yet is the one who is blamed and harmed when she is pregnant with a female. Daughters are also at risk for physical and psychological harm if she was originally unwanted before being born (Eklund & Purewal, 2017). The fact that women are using this preventative mindset to “save” their unborn daughters from a life of suffering is more evidence to show that there is a flaw in the culture’s way of thinking. All life should be valued equally regardless of gender and for people to be selective about the sex of their child plays a role in the shortage of women in society.
One of the main issues that make sex-selection abortion hard to change is its deep cultural roots. Changing old traditions and mindsets are very difficult to do because traditions and values are passed down through generations as an accepted way of life and we carry these traditions forward to honor those who came before us. Since sex-selection abortions are causing issues on a large scale, government intervention seems necessary. However proposals from the government seem to be placing mother’s safety at risk instead of combatting the sex-selection abortion issue. We should not solve one problem while creating another. Humans are creative beings and we should use our creativity to our advantage to find a solution that does not sacrifice safety.
One of the biggest challenges that stand in the way of finding a solution is that this is a problem rooted in tradition and values. The people of India, China, and other parts of Asia have a mindset that men are better and more valuable than women, and the idea has been there for generations. There have been some successful changes occurring in some Asian countries such as China and South Korea that have come about with the help of campaigns. In China, there was a large focus of creating public awareness through campaigns, involving posters and the media, which focused on gender equality and the advantages of having female children (Hesketh, et al., 2011). These efforts led to the Care for Girls Campaign, which was put into action by China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission in 2003 (Hesketh, et al., 2011). Overtime, the people in China began to understand the importance of having women in society and showed more appreciation towards the female gender. Noticeable change occurred just four years after the Care for Girls Campaign was initiated: in 2007, a survey showed that the campaign had improved women’s own perceived status and that stated son preference had declined (Hesketh, et al., 2011). This issue is not one that can be simply fixed with medication, screenings, or visits with a health care provider. Sex-selective abortion is a problem that is deep-rooted in traditions of men being more valuable than women, and it has been going on for centuries. It will probably take generations to see a decrease in the sex ratio gap. With knowledge and awareness of the problem and campaigns with people who are supporting gender equality, there is real potential for change. Old traditions of paying a dowry to the groom’s parents will also end if advances in campaigns are successful. As men learn to appreciate women there will be more women available to marry and fewer men will be led down the path of psychological problems, sexual frustration, or violent acts. Both men and women who are having a baby will be ecstatic when having a healthy baby boy or girl, as they are equally important to a balanced, strong, and happy society.
Sex selection abortion is not a new concept, as it has been going on for centuries. Due to long-standing traditions, women have been devalued and underappreciated in many parts of the world, especially in Asian countries. The underlying issue is women are seen as more expensive than men due to old practices of the bride’s family paying the groom’s family a large dowry when the couple is married. Female of all ages are being violated that range from aborting female fetuses, to beating brides due to differences among families. The skew in the sex ratio is leading to greater acts of violence among men due to the fact there are fewer women to marry. Women are important part of the society without them no one would have been here. Until people learn the importance of treating women with respect there will not be any change. The change has to come from people and families need to start supporting their daughters teaching them to be independent strong individuals. In order to fix this horrendous problem, the people of India have to be educated on the importance of women in their culture, in order to keep a balanced and healthy society. Awareness of the issue around the world also has to occur through news reports on television, radio, and newspapers, as well as through social media. Increased awareness of sex selective abortions can lead to campaigns around the world to help to eventually end the practice over the next few generations. Every person has the right to live in this world, despite their gender. Today there is nothing that a woman cannot do, but yet gender inequality still very much exists. The world has to work together to ensure both men and women are created and treated equally.