cost of a small family- dont have daughters….

CHANDIGARH: “Earlier, families wanted at least one son. Now they want one son only!” says Dr. Sabu George who has been working in the field of female foeticide for over two decades. According to experts, selective elimination of unborn females in Punjab is not just the result of backward social attitude but years of marketing by doctors who promoted the idea of foeticide as sensible social investment. “Medical terrorism” Punjab has one of the lowest sex ratios in the world, from 875 per 1,000 births in 1991 to 798 in 2001. The sex ratio at last birth (NFH Survey-III) in Punjab is an abysmal 504, which means that 496 out of 1,000 families do not have more children if the first-born is male. Terming the practice of aborting a foetus after sex determination as “medical terrorism”, Dr. George said that while society has always been unkind to women, the sudden eruption in male births is entirely due to easy availability of technology and the shameless manner in which doctors market the procedure to the educated elite. “Educated females want small families and medical technology has made that convenient; eventually the concept of an ideal small family is built at the expense of dead female foetus,” he added. Advertisements Ultrasound machines meant for checking the growth of an unborn were dumped in India and doctors made a fortune by overplaying being son-less as social stigma. “Not long back, nursing homes in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi carried advertisements on how an expenditure of few thousands [at aborting a female] would eventually save many lakhs in the future,” Dr. George said. A recent study conducted by Patiala-based paediatric doctor Harshinder Kaur talks about how school girls in urban Punjab resent the idea of bearing a female child. “Close to 40 per cent stated that a female got proper attention and due respect in her in-laws’ house only if she bore a male child. Other reasons were increasing crimes against females, ill-treatment at home, and continuation of family name and support in old age.” Dr. Kaur, who has been working in the area of female foeticide in Punjab, added that only one-tenth of the girls knew that the gender of a child depended on the male partner, “Shamefully many thought not bearing a male child was some sort of a defect. The present education system seems too insufficient to enlighten them!” Even as the Punjab Government announced considerable improvement in the sex ratio (from 798 per 1,000 to 850 in nine years), experts question the reliability of the data. “The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques [Regulation and Prevention of Misuse] Act, 1994, was enacted primarily to check sex-selective foeticide, but its conviction rate is not good enough to act as deterrent. The law has not been enforced, awareness is ineffective and the society doesn’t seem to care about the brutal murder of innumerable girls,” say“Earlier, families wanted at least one son. Now they want one son only!” says Dr. Sabu George who has been working in the field of female foeticide for over two decades. According to experts, selective elimination of unborn females in Punjab is not just the result of backward social attitude but years of marketing by doctors who promoted the idea of foeticide as sensible social investment. “Medical terrorism” Punjab has one of the lowest sex ratios in the world, from 875 per 1,000 births in 1991 to 798 in 2001. The sex ratio at last birth (NFH Survey-III) in Punjab is an abysmal 504, which means that 496 out of 1,000 families do not have more children if the first-born is male. Terming the practice of aborting a foetus after sex determination as “medical terrorism”, Dr. George said that while society has always been unkind to women, the sudden eruption in male births is entirely due to easy availability of technology and the shameless manner in which doctors market the procedure to the educated elite. “Educated females want small families and medical technology has made that convenient; eventually the concept of an ideal small family is built at the expense of dead female foetus,” he added. Advertisements Ultrasound machines meant for checking the growth of an unborn were dumped in India and doctors made a fortune by overplaying being son-less as social stigma. “Not long back, nursing homes in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi carried advertisements on how an expenditure of few thousands [at aborting a female] would eventually save many lakhs in the future,” Dr. George said. A recent study conducted by Patiala-based paediatric doctor Harshinder Kaur talks about how school girls in urban Punjab resent the idea of bearing a female child. “Close to 40 per cent stated that a female got proper attention and due respect in her in-laws’ house only if she bore a male child. Other reasons were increasing crimes against females, ill-treatment at home, and continuation of family name and support in old age.” Dr. Kaur, who has been working in the area of female foeticide in Punjab, added that only one-tenth of the girls knew that the gender of a child depended on the male partner, “Shamefully many thought not bearing a male child was some sort of a defect. The present education system seems too insufficient to enlighten them!” Even as the Punjab Government announced considerable improvement in the sex ratio (from 798 per 1,000 to 850 in nine years), experts question the reliability of the data. “The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques [Regulation and Prevention of Misuse] Act, 1994, was enacted primarily to check sex-selective foeticide, but its conviction rate is not good enough to act as deterrent. The law has not been enforced, awareness is ineffective and the society doesn’t seem to care about the brutal murder of innumerable girls,” says Voluntary Health Association of Punjab director Manmohan Sharma. “Genocide” “The desire to have a single male child is high because more educated women have greater access to technology, they are more privileged and everybody knows which doctors are doing it in any town or village. Civil society organisations do not give it adequate priority in terms of stopping the crime, they still don’t see it as genocide,” says Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development professor Ashwini Nanda.s Voluntary Health Association of Punjab director Manmohan Sharma. “Genocide” “The desire to have a single male child is high because more educated women have greater access to technology, they are more privileged and everybody knows which doctors are doing it in any town or village. Civil society organisations do not give it adequate priority in terms of stopping the crime, they still don’t see it as genocide,” says Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development professor Ashwini Nanda.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “cost of a small family- dont have daughters….

  1. Dear Vrinda,
    As a journalist I work for Dutch television.
    We prepare a documentary in Punjab in which we will focus on the unbalance in the sex ratio.
    I read your articles about this issue in The Hindu and I’d like to get in touch with you.
    Can you please contact me asap on my mail address?

  2. vrindasharma

    my emila address is
    vrindasharma85@gmail.com
    write to me and i will get in touch with u
    🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s