“Having a girl is to plant a seed in someone else’s garden.”

India is proposing to register all women who are pregnant. This ostensibly is being done in order to curb the number of female fetuses being aborted and to help stop the number of female child infanticides.

Currently up to 500,000 female fetuses are being aborted yearly. The preference for boys has “[…]reduced the number of girls per 1,000 boys from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001.” Link

Boys tend to be preferred because they carry on the family name. But families here also fear the financial burden of girls – when it comes time to pay huge traditional dowries to their daughters’ future husbands upon marriage. Link

Until there is a change in the way females are viewed societally, the attempt to limit abortions will only result in more female children suffering. As they are more likely to be killed at birth and less likely to receive the same care in feeding and medical attention and less likely to receive education.

There are many mitigating circumstances in the law that permit a woman to have an abortion. Rape is one, the inability of an unmarried woman to care for a child is another. Any pregnancy that causes mental anguish to a woman can be legally terminated even against medical advice. The minister ought to be looking at the root cause of female foeticide, not try to enter a personal domain. Link

Limiting abortion will increase the number of pregnancy related illnesses and very likely the maternal death rate as women carry more pregnancies without more access to medical care.
According to the UNICEF, India accounts for almost 20 per cent of the world’s maternal mortality cases. Link

Not only would the task of monitoring all pregnancies be almost impossible, there would need to be very careful monitoring of who is doing the monitoring. Miscarriages and still births could turn innocent women into suspected criminals, particularly if the fetus/child is female. As complications are quite common in areas where there is much poverty and little health care, this proposal could create yet another burden that the women must live under.

While it is a laudable goal to protect India from becoming a country with a population heavily skewed towards males, and the difficulties resulting from such skewed populations, it is important that any measures taken do not interfere with women’s reproductive rights, and adhere strongly to democratic principals.

The following article gives more in depth background to this issue.


  1. Sarah P

    Funny how they are called ‘India’s missing girls’

    After all, I thought fetuses weren’t people – right? So if they were never a person how can they be missing?
    I found it really telling that I saw an article in a women’s magazine one month decrying the efforts of pro-life groups to criticize abortion, when the next month’s issue railed against the abortion of girl fetuses in india, china, etc. The inconsistency and hypocrisy was astounding.

    It cannot be both ways. Either the fetus has worth as a person and terminating a pregnancy is wrong, or it’s just a blob of tissue and therefore aborting girls fetuses is not a big deal.

    Articles like this one from bread and roses make me laugh when I see the criticism of the unborn victims of crime act. Never thought I’d see women try to take away the rights of other women to protect their unborn babies in the name of strict ideological adherence.

  2. Sarah it is too bad that in your quest to make a point you failed to read what I said.

    I don’t in fact consider the limiting of abortion for any reason to be a good thing.

    I did not write the missing girls story. In fact I offered it up as proof that stopping abortion only means that full term born babies are abandoned and/or left to die.

    But of course your side cares not a whit for the already breathing.

    So spare me your pious condescension.

  3. Jed

    Err.. Sorry to poke a hole here, but a 6-month old foetus makes breathing motions… Therefore isn’t it your ‘side’ that cares not for the already breathing? Or do you believe in some vague spaghetti-like magical process that occurs between 6 months & full term that makes a ‘full term born baby’ something to get self-righteous about (as I suppose premature babies like me don’t count as full term & breathing?)

    Having said all that rubbish, I don’t personally agree with limiting abortion rights. But I also think aborting a foetus ’cause of it’s gender or eye color is a complete moral f*ck up. Don’t you?

  4. Jed you are being disingenuous and manipulative. A six month fetus may make breathing motions, however, they do not breathe and the inability to breathe is one reason so many preemies do not make it.

    Now of course with the medical interventions available more make it than before, but even a 8 month preemie is at higher risk.

    You are not a foetus nor a preemie baby now are you? Else I shall alert Guinness straight away. You are not a “baby like me” You are an adult one would assume. Therefore, were born and are breathing.

    That “magical” act does indeed differentiate you from a foetus.

  5. LG

    There is one very simple solution to male domination of this world, and that is, for women to abort all males. In 20 years, women represent the majority in every jurisidiction where this feminist action takes place. Mission accomplished.