Tuesday, July 04, 2006

India: Female Genocide

In India, ultrasounds used to screen for the child's sex result in a half a million female deaths per year. I talked about this before here. For fun, I searched the National Organization for Women's website. Nothing. Not one word written about this tragedy.

A woman interviewed in the article aborted eight baby girls so she could get her one boy. Now, there are between 800 and 900 girls for every 1000 boys.

Consequences: 1) The sex trade has heated up because there are not enough women in the upper castes to marry the glut of men. More women are being traumatized and abused because of a misogynist culture as men buy slaves and prostitutes and pay those girl's father's the money. 2) Many women face sterility and death at the hands of multiple abortions. 3) The lopsided society intensifies the pressure on the remaining women.

All I can conclude is that the women of NOW are as shortsighted as the unions. They will destroy themselves by clinging to an absolute and selfish ideal. Unwilling to admit that this glorious symbol of individual freedom--abortion--can be and often is used to manipulate and control women (In fact, I can think of only one case where a woman client was not coerced into an abortion.) they will cause their own ultimate demise. Many Eastern cultures including Korea, China and India prefer males and will give females up for adoption or abort them.

This doesn't happen, as much, in America. It would be naive, though, to believe abortion based on gender doesn't happen at all. As child gender can be identified even earlier, and as more genetic abnormalities are easily screened, abortion in America will increase. This blood test by Acu-Gen claims a 99% success rate and can test the woman as early as five weeks pregnant. Americans will be able to, discreetly, "eliminate" girls, gays, autism, and any other trait deemed undesireable. That list seems to continue to grow. How does that fit with minority rights?

My question: why does National Organization for Women pretend to be pro-woman? Their foundational policy plank is abortion. In the case of India, women's rights and abortion rights are at odds. With technolgical gains, this "women's" organization will have to decide priorities. Really, all Americans must face the "right to choose". Is it possible that abortion is murder after all?


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Melissa,

I have read your comments on selective or gender based abortion.
In many cultures, women are seen as nothing more than domesticated animals, and as such, open to control, abuse, murder, deprovation, slavery etc. Abortion when used selective gendercide is just another method in these countries (like India and China)to keep the female population at bay and therefore able to assert more control on the few that survive.
I imagine that if the choice was entirely up to the women, without fear of reprisal), that these terminations would not go ahead. I believe that abortion is the right of the individual, not the right of the masses. When abortion is used in such a way as the eliminate a child because is happens to be the wrong gender, then I believe that it is murder. When a decision is made solely from a female perpestive ie: due to her age, or abandonment from the father, or poverty, or medical condition. I believe she has that right. I don't believe that anyone has the right over the physical body of another human being (under any circumstances). Selective abortions are just that. Men excercising their pitful control over females who are not permitted a voice, education, freedom of movement, or independance.
This is a world wide discrace. I have seen more people get emotional over a whale carcas, than a body of a dead female infant in the gutter on the streets in China. More women have died in this form of selective abortion than the casualties of the first and second world wars, the Aids epidemic and the Asain Tsunami combined. There are over 51 million females "missing" from the Indian population and over 110 million females "missing" from the population of China. I have not mentioned the figures from Jordan or Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand either. Figures from the United Nations 2002.

Dr. Melissa said...


You neglect to acknowledge that many of these women want to birth a boy and view it as a dishonor to birth a girl. Women are not the innocent bystanders you may believe. Often, they are the ones seeking the abortion. If you have seen the way (some) parents acculturate their children--the mothers elevate the boys and subjugate the girls. It is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

It is probably due to the fact, that I am perhaps less travelled than yourself, and have not seen physically, the singular persecution that you mention between a mother and a daughter.

I will make another observation though. I have noticed in western countries (such as Australia) that many women will keep having babies, until they get a male child. This has caused a small explosion in the birth rate of females by comparison. This also is an alarming trend and causes also a nasty form of misogynism. Although this is not a major issue. I thought I might point this out, as this too interests me.
Thankyou for your reply. I read it with much interest.

Dr. Melissa said...

I have seen this trend, too. As a parent to both a boy and a girl, I'm grateful to be blessed with both.

I have seen mom's of four and five boys try for that girl, too. But there is something about boy. It's deeply ingrained in almost every culture I can think of.

Anonymous said...

For your consideration

This is a song written by John Lennon in 1972 called "Woman is the Nigger of the World"

"We make her paint her face and dance
If she won't be slave, we say that she don't love us.
If she's real, we say she's trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us.

We make her bear and raise children
and then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother then
We tell her home is the only place she would be
Then we complain that she's too unworldly to be our friend.

We insult her on TV everyday
and wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be smart we put her down for being so dumb

Woman is the Nigger of the world..yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look at the one your with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Yes she is..if you believe me, you better scream about it.

I have found this song to be very profound. I didn't know if you were aware of this tune, so I thought I would share it with you

Anonymous said...

I also wanted to add this comment for your consideration.

I am strongly opposed to anything that comprimises the individual, on any level.

I can not support anti abortion lobbyists on this basis. The simple fact is that if a woman continues with an unwanted pregnancy she misses out on so much. Her whole life is comprimised. Please understand that I am speaking about women in western countries and I do agree with you in principle on the genocide concept. It is a woman who raises a child. It is a woman who looses her freedom, to care for that child. It is a woman who is critised for raising that child. It is a woman is is financially comprimised for having that child.

I find it typical, that something designed to show compassion and humanity towards women, is turned around and abused, and makes it evil and turns the female into a murderer. It would seem that as women, we are damned whatever we do. It is a mindset, due to lack of opportunity and education, that these practices are rampant. I do know that without surgical abortion, these women still terminate pregnancies with the most awful consequences. I know that in Africa, they used to push them out of trees until the pregnancy was aborted. Barbaric and inhumane. Still going on today, I believe.

I believe that women (given the choice) do not run off to the abortion clinic on a whim. It is a devistating process for the individual. In countries like India and China, this may not be the case and I understand this.

Anonymous said...

A further clarification,

I feel the need to communicate my feelings further.

It amazes me, how everyone feels it neccessary to comment or have control over the repoductive organs of a woman. If we are to be individuals in the truest sense of the word, then we can not allow this to happen. No one has the right to tell another what to do or how to live their life. This is the paradox. Because in 9 out of ten cultures/ religions, that is excactly what happens to women. In some religions, women are scorned for even using birth control. At the very least, women should have total autonomy over their own bodies. I feel this is the crux of the matter. I think that the organisation you mentioned probably believes in this basic of human rights, and this is why they choose to have no stance on this issue. My body belongs to me. Not my husband, or my father, or any other family member, or the state.

I can't help think that anti abortion groups are misogynistic because they ignore this basic human right. The stance is "to hell with the carrier, the package is tantamount". We'll if the packaging is stuffed, then so are the goods inside.

In third world countries, all they have done is bastardise a woman's right to choose and used it instead as a lazy/cheap method of selective genderisation and birth control. The only one who suffers here, is of course the female (as always). Women make decisions based on pressure, suffering, fear and lack of information. We both know, that when faced with the prospect of being murdered yourself or killing your female infant, the forerunner will precede. I am sure that there have been women, who have tried to keep their female infants, but are dead from trying.

Rita Banerji said...

I lived in the U.S. for many years and I was and am still pro-choice. Yet, when I returned to India as an adult even my pro-choice mind could not comprehend the absolute horror of the fact that in less than a century India has eliminated more than 50 million women from its population. It is targetted elimination and by definition a genocide. That's when I started the 50 Million Missing Campaign. Our website is www.50millionmissing.in

And you are absolutely right Melissa. There is a big block in the west regarding female genocide in India. It is not an anti-abortion issue. The Soroptimist International just last week took on this cause. And I hope other feminist and human rights groups will.

More so it is not just about female feticide. There is infanticide, dowry murders, under 5 mortality rate and abortion related MMRs (1 woman every 5 minutes in India). I just published an article for the Australian journal Intersections. Here is the link:

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