Female Feticide and Female Infanticide

Female Feticide and Female Infanticide are the significant issues from many decades. As the Patriarchal nature country Female Infanticide is a problem from many centuries. Female Infanticide is deliberately killing the girl child wherein Female Feticide is killing the girl child when she is in the womb. Female Feticide and Female infanticide has brought gender imbalance in the country. Apart from Legal framework and new laws to prevent the female feticide and infanticide, the death of the girl child is increasing. Even though the law is a powerful social instrument but cannot root out this social problem. The feticide and infanticide of a female child are worst forms of violence against women where a women is denied her most basic and fundamental right i.e. “right to life”. The main reason for the female infanticide and feticide is because lack of education, societies are fascinated about male child then the female, as the male look after the family in future in other words male child is source of family income. According to Hindu mythology, only male child can support economically, socially and emotionally and parents cannot obtain salvation unless they have a son to perform their last rites. Whereas the girl child increases their economic burden to obey the social norms like dowry etc., poverty is also a big problem related to the practice of female infanticide and feticide. This imbalance in the gender result in increase in sexual offence, sharing of women within and outside the wedlock and it creates greater insecurity against women.

Crime against women is a national shame. However, female infanticide and feticide are even more despicable. Nowadays we could find much violence against woman and missing complaints which are due to the shortage of sex ratio and negligence showed towards the female in our society.

Female infanticide and feticide are two forms of gender selective violence that are prevalent in developing countries and cuts across barriers like caste, class and communities. As the technology develops the medical field found a huge transformation which also led to find the gender of an unborn child. This heinous crime has gone unchecked despite enactment of laws like Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act. At the time when a women right has got some attention, the practice of female infanticide and feticide was in unabashedly in practice. Which upheld the inhuman practice of human? A debatable topic. The cases of female infanticide were registered high in the areas of Western Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. The female child was targeted before she was born, were the female members who were carried was treated inferiorly compared to the women who is carrying a boy child in terms of food, medication and etc. In case the female child was born she was not treated equally as boy and was not given the education.

Mumbai was a well-known center for abortion, after undertaking the sex determination tests, out of the 15,914 abortions performed during 1984-85 almost 100 percent were those of girl fetuses. Similarly, a survey report of the women‘s center in Mumbai found that out of a 8,000 fetuses aborted in six city hospitals 7,999 fetuses were of girls. In India, the causes of female infanticide and feticide are multifaceted.

One of the major causes is of Son mania, as India followed patrilineal and patriarchal system, Hindus follows Manu law which believes that a man cannot attain redemption unless he has a son to light his funeral pyre. Beside religious consideration, male favors economically, socially and emotionally compared to females. Secondly, in the practice of dowry, a stereo-type label “burden” is stuck on the female child as they are born. As the child grew up and has to get married, the parents of the girl child used to pay monetary or any particulars which are expressed in the form of money which were given to the boy child as a dowry. Boys on the other hand are considered assets, who fetch a fabulous dowry for the parents. Thirdly, misuse of the technology were tests like Amniocentesis and ultrasonography, which were designed for detection of congenital abnormalities of the fetus, are being misused to detect the gender of the fetus, which led to aborting if it happens to be that of a female. Fourthly, weak implementation of law. Government has passed Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, prohibits the determination of the sex of fetus. It mandates the registration of genetic counseling centers, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. However the implementation of this act is only focused on the registration of number of ultrasound machines and not on the actual act of abortions of female fetuses. The one who are charged of aborting the female fetus are not charged under relevant sections of the Act. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 and amended in 2002, regulates to access for safe abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy in cases where the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Thousands of women die every year due to complications resulting from unsafe abortions, apart from this illegal abortions still outnumber legal abortions. According to the Population Research Institute, at least 12,771,043 sex-selective abortions had taken place in India from 2000 and 2014. Though Indian Constitution provides Right to Life to every individual, violation against a girl child are still taking place. National Policy for children 1974 and National Education policy 1986 are focusing on these issues to overcome. The government started a campaign in January 2015 called Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to encourage families to have a girl child and prevent female feticide and infanticide. Government in extended launched several conditional cash transfer schemes such as Balika Samriddhi Yojana and Dhanalakshmi Scheme. The Sukanya Samridhi Yojana started by the BBMP programme aims to ensure equal rights of the girl child on the family properties which were in debate in society for many decades. To stop the sexual offence against women the POCSO Act (Prevention of Children from Sexual offences) was formulated in 2012, Sexual Harassment at workplace (prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986, Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and changes in the criminal law on the recommendations of Justice Verma Committee which aimed in providing secure and safe environment for females. To increase the nutrition level in the girl child government has started ICDS, MDM, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram and Scholarship schemes like Pragati and special girl’s school like Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayaa for the educating the girl child. Government has brought reform under every aspect to safeguard the girl child and enacted laws to protect the interest of a girl child but the incident like female feticide and infanticide are questioning the function of these reforms. To get the women on the main stream, 33% of seats are reserved for women in Panchayat, and reservation in the central armed police force. Though all this laws, amendments and reforms the violence against the women and girl child are not in control. Every day we could find many cases where this women, children are victims of the offence. Besides having specific legislation and policy proclamation to deal with this menace, the precipitating factors such as dowry, poverty and women’s economic dependence etc., leading to the problem of feticide and infanticide. Social behavior must be changed towards women and should be educated with the reforms. Only then the violence against the women would be stopped.


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