Published On: Thu, Feb 28th, 2013

Should Sex Determination Be Legalized In India?


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Sex determination is basically a process by which the gender of the unborn child is disclosed to the parents. This is done after the sex is determined through ultra sonography. In most cases sex through ultra sonography can be determined only at fifth month. We will now discuss about should sex determination be legalized in India? Well the debate is an old one and has been going on for years. India is the only country in the world where sex determination is illegal. It is a crime and the hospitals doing this can be closed by the government. This may sound weird to many. However, the fact is India sex determination of the unborn is a crime.

Let us first understand why sex determination in India is a crime. Well when sonography initially started in India the parents were told the sex of the child. After few years the survey showed that only male children were born in many parts of the country. These states were Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc. The government was alarmed at the sex ratio figures. This was when they probed deeper. They were surprised to see that due to sex determination many parents were opting for an abortion. As a result many girls were killed even before they were born. Doctors and hospitals made this a new means of making money. Parents were ready to pay any amount of money to ensure that the girl child is not born. The government was shocked at this and they decided to make a new law that sex determination of the unborn child will be abolished in India. Even the states where female foeticide was not common this law was passed. The government clearly stated that if a doctor or hospital is caught determining the sex of the child the licence of the doctor will be cancelled and the hospital will be closed. This is exactly why whenever you step into a hospital you will see a board saying sex determination is not done here.

It is indeed a heinous crime to kill a baby just because she is a girl. The problem is deeper. It is not that parents don’t want a girl child. They are scared of the expenses that they will have to bear if a girl child is born in the family. In India the girl’s family has to pay huge dowry to the guy’s family at the time of marriage. Dowry is like a sum of money and gifts that the girl gets for her in laws. This may range from cash, gold, car, house, etc. This is exactly why when there are more than two girls in a family the parents know for sure that their old age will not be very prosperous. This is one important reason for killing the baby girl. In many parts of India girls are killed after birth too as the families don’t want them. The statistics prove that this trend is not only common among the poor but is also very popular with the rich and the affluent. A woman must give birth to a male child as only male children can supposedly run the family. Girls are married off so they are considered to be not a part of the family. They cannot carry the family name. Many rich business families kill girls as they feel they cannot run the business. When the families are questioned this is the answers that they give.

Well now that you know how sex determination became a crime in India. You also know why female children are killed. We will now discuss some arguments that claim sex determination should be allowed. The first point is that sex determination through ultra sonography is possible only in the fifth month. If a woman tries to abort a child at this stage it can be a huge risk both for the mother. Many women also die during these abortions. The parents should be made aware of the risk that they are undertaking. The second argument is that sex determination may lead to killing the baby girl but killing is a bigger crime than determining the sex. The government should make laws to ensure that the killing of a female child is punished and not the mere sex determination.

The female foetus is killed due to many reasons that must be removed. The dowry laws should be made stricter. The women should be educated on their rights. Basic education must be made compulsory for all women in the rural areas. There should be more campaigns done to ensure that the girls are given equal opportunity to grow. If these evil beliefs and practices in the society continue girls will be killed either in the womb or after birth. Rather than making sex determination a crime there are better steps that the government can take.

There are many educated and working women who want to know the sex of their baby. The reasons can be many. The parents would want to make a nursery. They would like to buy toys and clothes for the baby. Many prefer not to shop in a hurry. If the sex is told in advance then these can be quite smooth and easy. If the sex is said beforehand then the parents can determine the name of the child. They can ensure that a birth certificate is made faster. There are parents who already have a child and they want both their kids to go to the same school. If the sex of the unborn is told to them then they can decide on a co-ed school or a girl’s school. Many parents feel that they should be allowed to sign a declaration in which they will agree to the fact that they will not kill the baby if it is a girl. This should be a good document for any hospital. However, the hospitals and the government don’t want to do this at all. They feel that no matter what sex determination should be avoided for the safety of the girl child.

Should sex determination be legalized in India? It is still a debatable topic for all of us in India. We just hope that soon it no more remains a crime and all the parents can get to know the sex of the child. We also hope that the government ensures that they create enough awareness and no girl child is killed either before or after birth. If the sex determination is legalised it will make it possible for many parents across India to welcome the new born better. As they will know what clothes to buy and what colour the nursery should be.

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