The tragedy of forced sex-selective abortions (And the people who lie about them)

Cross posted on my personal blog

A few months ago the notoriously misleading Live Action released yet anotherdoctored Planned Parenthood “under cover” sting video that attempted to discredit the organization by stating that they are complacent with sex-selective abortions. Exactly what it sounds like, a sex-selective abortion  is when a pregnancy is aborted y based on the gender of the fetus. Most often is it females that are aborted.

To begin with, Planned Parenthood provides abortions to women who need them. They don’t ask you why you want the abortion but they do discuss all options with you including abortion and adoption. The Live Action video that caused a great big stir among the anti-choice and pro-choice was not only doctored (they removed the discussion of adoption by the Planned Parenthood employee) but was also incorrect. False. Lies. Bullshit.

Sex-Selective Abortion is Not A Problem in the USA

Sex-selective abortion is not an issue in the United States. 

Sex-selective abortion is not an issue in the United States. 

Sex-selective abortion is not an issue in the United States. 

I hope this statement made some sort of an impact the third time.

I find this issue dearer to my heart than others because I come from a nation where female-based sex-selective abortions are common and are actually a problem. I come from a country where low-income women are forced into 5-10 pregnancies in the hopes of baring a male child, these are women who have no way of supporting any of the females that they already brought into the world. I come from a country where females are underfed and aren’t educated so that there is more money and more food available for the male children of the household. I come from a country where sex-selection abortion and pregnancy are problems.

Before we get into what real sex-selective abortion is, let’s review from facts about the United States at stated by Think Progress and Media Matters:

So again: Sex-selective abortion is not an issue in the United States. 

It is, however,  an unfortunate epidemic in South East Asia. So much so that in 1994 India banned prenatal sex determination. That ban was not only upheld by the Bombay High Court in 2007 but the country is moving to tighten these restriction in the face of continuing abortion of females leading to a disproportionate ratio of males to females in the country . In 2011, the national average sex ration in India stood at 914 females to every 1000 boys and in places like Punjab the situation is even worse:  only 830 girls per 1,000 boys. 

Sex-selective abortion is not a problem in the USA

The thing is, sex-selective abortions have nothing to do with abortions at all. Instead it has to do with a deep rooted disdain towards females and the belief that only males are auspicious where are females are a burden. In a nation where female feticide is an issue, outlawing abortion won’t solve anything. When a family doesn’t want a female, they’ll make sure they get rid of her by any means necessary which is why infanticide and abandonment has been on the rise in countries where abortion is illegal, expensive, or taboo and females aren’t wanted.

In 2011, The Economist published a story titled “Seven Brothers: An aversion to having daughters is leading to millions of missing girls”, it begins:

“We’re going for a trip”, Sakina remembers her older sister saying. Orphaned and poor, the girls were happy to leave their home in Kolkata. Taken 1,300km to Kotla, a village on the wheat plains south of Delhi, the 12-year-old Sakina was dumped in the arms of an older man while her sister fled. The man, a wage labourer, had paid over 5,000 rupees ($100, today) to a dalal, or broker, who arranged to ship unwanted girls to places short of them.

And Sakina isn’t alone in this horrifying story. According to the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan, 2010 records showed that more than 1,200 newborns were killed in Pakistan last year of which 9 out of 10 were females (often, families may consider too costly to keep in a country where women frequently are not allowed to work.

Sana, a 22-year-old Pakistani woman who married into an educated family relayed her story to Aneka Chohan of The Express Tribune Blogs:

“When they told me it’s going to be a girl,” Sana said in between sobs, “I thought ‘No, no, no!”

She went on to narrate how when her mother-in-law found out the gender of the baby, she replied with frustration:

“Damn you, harvesting daughters everywhere.”

Another woman in Pakistan had both of her hands gruesomely “chopped off” by her angry husband–he was angry that she gave birth to a fourth daughter.

Aamir Khan, a prominent Indian actor, recently launched a television show titled ”Satyamev Jayate”, or “Truth Alone Prevails”. The show sets out to expose some of the horrible truths that exist in India which are also mirrored in Pakistan. One recent episode dealt with the issue of female feticide and infanticide. On the show:

“Ameesha Yagnik haltingly recalled how her husband forced her to abort six female fetuses in eight years. How he threw her out of the house but refused to let her meet her infant daughter for months until she agreed to divorce him.”

People like Lila Rose and organizations like Live Action are manipulating the American public into ignorance. They are trusted by anti-choicers to provide accurate and damning information which they in turn use to draft legislation limiting abortion and health care coverage for women. Live Action should be ashamed of itself for lying to the people that support it and for demeaning the women who are actually forced to go through a sex-selective abortion. As I said before, the issue of female feticide and infanticide has nothing to do with abortion but more about the collective state of mind of those who are obtaining these abortions and murdering females after birth.

Missing Women: Female-Selective Abortion and Infanticide is a documentary about sex-selective abortions in places like India, Pakistan, and China. I truly urge Lila Rose, Live Action, and other so-called pro-life organizations to view this documentary and understand what female feticide and infanticide looks like before they attempt to manipulate it into political propaganda  and fabricating its existence in American society as women all over the world continue to suffer at the hands of these patriarchies that treasure boys.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Join the Conversation