Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Asia's Missing Daughters

John Smeaton’s blog features a report on a Parliamentary meeting earlier this week highlighting the growing problem of sex selective abortion in India. There are an estimated 35 million ‘missing’ girls in India alone and an estimated 100 million missing girls worldwide. The average sex ratio across India is just 800 girls to 1000 boys, a figure that is as low as 300 girls per 1000 boys in one area.

Tragically, last year the US put forward a UN resolution against sex selective abortion which had to be withdrawn due to overwhelming opposition from countries such as China and India where sex selective abortion is widely practiced, but also from the EU. The Holy See noted at the time: “Despite its importance, the Commission on the Status of Women has remained silent on prenatal sex selection, infanticide and son preference.”

Sex selective abortion is the worst act of violence and discrimination against women, but few have the courage to speak out against it. Worse, this act of what is being called ‘gendercide’ is supported by people who claim to campaign in favour of women’s rights. Ann Furedi, Director of the abortion provider BPAS, stated in an article in 1999:
“Our feminism is affronted when we are faced with a couple who decide to end a previously wanted pregnancy because they have discovered that the child would be the wrong gender: a girl. To condone the choice of abortion seems to devalue the lives of girls and lend passive support to a system of cultural values that oppresses women. Yet to deny this woman the right to make her own choice, because we disapprove of the reason for her abortion request, is to mirror the actions of paternalistic doctors who have similarly refused to comply with abortion requests because, in their eyes, women did not have good enough reasons.”
To refuse to condemn sex selective abortion on the grounds that ‘choice’ trumps every other right, including the right to life and the right to freedom from discrimination, is yet further evidence of the fundamentalist nature of the abortion ideology and its rank hypocrisy.