1. What is sex selection?
Sex selection is determining the sex of the unborn child (fetus) and eliminating it, if it is of a sex unwanted by the parents. In India this invariably means eliminating the female fetus. Sex selection has many forms: from female infanticide to female feticide and the technologically sophisticated pre-conception sex selection.Full Post
3. Is sex selection limited to less prosperous or backward regions?
No, this is a myth. This practice prevalent right across the country. It is not limited to certain parts or regions, though there are regional variations. According to the 2001 census, this ratio has declined to less than 900 girls per 1000 boys in states / UTs such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The ratio stands at a mere 766 in Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab. Kurukshetra district of Haryana has 771, Ahmedabad 836, and South West district of Delhi 846 – even though these regions are amongst the most prosperous in the country.Full Post
5. What about the law?
The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act prohibits sex selection, before or after conception. Its purpose is to prevent misuse of technologies such as ultrasound that can determine the sex of a child before it is born. It is illegal to determine or disclose the sex of the fetus. The law specifi es the punishment for violators – imprisonment, which may extend to 5 years, and fi ne up to Rs 100,000. Effective implementation of the law has been hampered by certain practical diffi culties and societal apathy. But the Government, international bodies such as UNFPA and NGOs are now making a concerted attempt to ensure that the law is understood, publicized and implemented.Full Post
2. What is meant by child Sex Ratio?
This is calculated as the number of girls per 1000 boys in the 0-6 years age group. In India, the ratio has shown a sharp decline from 976 girls to 1000 boys in 1961 to 927 as per the 2001 census. The declining child Sex Ratio has its roots in the practice of sex selection. In certain parts of the country, there are less than 800 girls for every 1000 boys. The child Sex Ratio is a powerful indicator of the social health of any society.Full Post
4. What is the impact of sex selection?
The adverse child Sex Ratio can severely impact the delicate equilibrium of nature and destroy our moral and social fabric. Contrary to what many believe, lesser number of girls in a society will not enhance their status. Instead, this could lead to increased violence against women, rape, abduction, traffi cking and onset of practices such as polyandry (many men marrying one woman). In some parts of the country, women are being ‘bought’ as brides.Full Post
6. What is the root cause of sex selection?
Sex selection is not only about technology. At the heart of the matter is the low status of women in society and the deep-rooted prejudices they face through 38 Implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act their life. The issue also needs to be seen in the context of a patriarchal social framework and a value system based on son preference. Further, the practice of dowry and the tag of ‘paraya dhan’ (the girl as someone else’s property – her future husband’s) translate into daughters being considered an economic liability. Consequently, what we see is discrimination and neglect of the girl child, in terms of inadequate nutrition, denial or limited access to education and health, child labour and domestic violence. At its worst, it translates into one of the most repugnant form of violence against women: sex selective abortion or infanticide.Full Post