Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Measures Required to Reduce Female Feticide - By Dr. Sabu George

The structures necessary for the implementation of the 1994 law have to be created at the district level. Volunteers have to be actively mobilized to monitor the registration and the functioning  of the sex-determination clinics in different districts. Effective alliances with ethical Doctors have to be made from the local levels. Test cases have to be filed against the violators. And also important is that we have to preserve with the media to highlight obstacles in the implementation of the Act. The consciousness of our society has to be raised against this crime. Simultaneously we have to get involved in actions to ensure that the public at large becomes supportive of this campaign. Lobbying with political parties to put this issue on their agenda is imperative. All this is just one step towards efforts to empower women in our society.

The deterioration of women’s status and the emergence of female feticide is not a unique sociological phenomenon confined to a particular state. The trend is all over the country; even in diverse cultural contexts where there has been relative greater gender equality; such as in the Uttarkhand hills or the Kashmir valley. Our challenge today is to initiate a vibrant, effective campaign against female feticide. If we are all committed then only can we reach out to the hearts and minds of our people. Jammu & Kashmir is important as it is the only state in the country where there is no legal prohibition against sex determination testing.  The earlier campaigns in the country against sex selective abortions failed despite the moral correctness of the issue, as they could not create a sustained social movement against this heinous crime. To stem the increasing epidemic of female feticide we have to expose the collusion of unethical medical practitioners with the patriarchal society. The campaign has to oppose the commodification of women in popular culture and media. Organizations and individuals with different priorities and ideological beliefs have to rally together to battle the powerful patriarchal forces operating within the institutions of the family, government and civil society. A transformation of our gendered society, is necessary for the elimination of female feticide.

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