A group of abortion activists in India, including Bollywood personalities, teachers and journalists, signed onto a letter this week to government officials resisting proposed efforts to stop the epidemic of sex-selective abortions targeting female babies, referred to by many as “gendercide.”
The Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS) sponsored the letter signed by about 250 individuals and groups opposed to charging those involved with sex-selective abortions with murder. The letter was sent to Speaker of the Maharashtra State Assembly Dilip Dattatraya Walse-Patil and Governor K. Shankarnarayan on Tuesday. Maharashtra is the second most populous state in India, located on the south-west coast, and contains the city of Mumbai.
“We are appalled at the statement made by Pankaja Munde-Palve (BJP) and Jitendra Awhad (NCP) at the legislative Assembly session on August 4, demanding that female ‘foeticide’ be treated as murder and culprits be booked for the offence of murder,” according to the letter.
Maharashtra government legislators Pankja Munde-Palve and Jitendra Awhad made the statement that “foeticide” be considered as murder during a debate on the alarming decline in the sex ratio of boys to girls in the state.
“Making sex-selective abortions (wrongly referred to as ‘female foeticide’), a murder charge will only increase illegal abortions,” the letter stated.
The pro-abortion activists recognized that sex-selective abortions discriminate against females, and are “a symptom of devaluation of female lives,” but insisted that the practice of abortion itself must be protected and made “safe.”
Government officials in Maharashtra continued to crack down on illegal sex-selective abortions this week conducting raids that resulted in the closing of abortion facilities and arrests.
Two abortion offices near Mumbai, one in Govandi and another in Dharavi, were shut down Monday, with one doctor and mother taken into police custody.
After reports that the remains of a six-month-old baby were abandoned by the hospital’s owner, Dr. Diwan Gupta, and the child’s mother, Yasmin Khan, were arrested in Govandi. A hospital in Dharavi was closed after it was found to be operating without registration to perform abortions.
Additionally, police in Balangir raided a hospital they believed to be behind the discovery of the beheaded bodies of infants and remains of fetuses found at several places throughout the city.
“We came to know from confidential sources that the doctor in the private hospital had been practicing illegal abortion by determining sex with the help of an unlicensed ultrasonographic machine. Our team has sealed the hospital,” Balangir police said, adding that further clues will be available regarding the abandoned fetal remains after a detailed investigation.
The solution to the problem of sex-selective abortions according to the activists is for the government to “deal with” social and economic factors that lead to these abortions, and resist efforts to curb abortion itself. But how can a new respect for female life be fostered in a culture where the dignity of human life itself is not fostered and protected?
India, like other Asian countries, has a strong cultural preference for male children, which is a huge factor in the occurrence of sex-selective abortions. Yet those who claim to advocate for women’s rights and respect for the female gender continue to support the death of millions of baby girls by allowing abortion to continue. The lack of respect for the dignity of human life, and the willingness to murder the innocent unborn, is the problem that must be overcome in India, and around the world.