China’s Not the Only One: What Gendercide Looks Like Across the World

IMAGE: batanga.com

 

China’s One-Child Policy is responsible for the deaths of 400 million babies in the last three decades. Since the policy’s implementation, an epidemic of gendercide has swept China because families prefer to have male children.  Gendercide in China is receiving media attention now, but what about gendercide in other countries? Is China the only one?

 

It’s not.  India, a close neighbor, is also notorious for gendercide. Like China, India used family planning as a way to control population size. Beginning in the 1950’s, population experts in India started taking steps to curb population growth in order to conserve India’s insufficient resources.

 

Sterilization and birth control were the primary means of family planning used in India. By threatening to withhold food or work, family planners coerced men and women into getting sterilized. The Indian government also paid individual provinces per number of sterilizations they performed. This is all reminiscent of China’s widespread forced sterilizations and birth control quotas.

 

In the 1980’s, India adopted a two-child-per-family law. Because most Indian families wanted a male child to carry on the family name, many families disposed of their baby girls through abandonment, drowning, and even burning on funeral pyres.  Just like in China, family planning restrictions led to gendercide.

 

Another similarity between China and India’s gendercide situations is the role of ultrasound technology in sex-selective abortion.  Now that ultrasounds are widely available in India, parents can know the sex of their child before birth and choose to abort their unwanted girls--even though the Indian government outlawed prenatal sex selection. Studies estimate that nearly half a million girls are aborted each year in India. The national sex ratio in India is 112 boys born for every 100 girls (112:100), but in 2011 it was as high as 125:100 in some provinces.

 

There are now 37 million more men than women in India. This surplus of men also brought on an epidemic of rape, much like China’s gender imbalance has contributed to a rise in sex trafficking. China and India are the most well known for gendercide, but gendercide is present in many other countries. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—three countries in the Caucasus region—all have skewed sex ratios due to sex selective abortion and family planning. As always, it is the girls who get aborted.

 

Recent data shows that sex ratios at birth for Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia are 116:100, 117:100, and 121:100 respectively. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, more people had access to ultrasounds, and therefore, to prenatal sex selection. Like many countries across the globe, these former Soviet nations have a preference for sons. Why? Some suggest that it has to do with conflicts that these nations are involved in, but experts do not yet have a concrete reason for why parents in the Caucasus prefer boys.

 

Because of sex-selective abortion, 10% of girls who would have been born in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are missing.

 

Gendercide also makes an appearance in North America. A study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that sex selective abortion is common among Asian-born mothers living in Canada. The journal calls Canada “a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favour of having sons”. They cite “Easy access to abortion and advances in prenatal sex determinationas reasons for this problem. This is not a secret either. One ad posted in Washington near the Canadian border read, “Create the Family You Want, Boy or Girl”.

 

Among Asian immigrants to Canada, sex ratios are fairly normal for first births--but for second children the ratios are much higher. If the first child is a girl, the second and third children will be boys over half the time. If the first child is a boy, however, the ratios do not change much for subsequent births. Asian immigrant mothers—often those who are Indian, Filipina, and Korean—are trying hard for boys.

 

While most Canadians think this practice is unacceptable, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada defends it, saying that the issue of sex selective abortion is “not so much about the abortion issue” but that “The root issue is the value and respect…that society and certain cultures give to girls and women.” The coalition continues to say that if a woman is in a personal situation “where she feels obligated to abort a female fetus or suffer serious personal consequences,” protecting her wellbeing in a “compassionate and safe way” means “ensuring that she has access to a safe abortion”.

 

But what about the rights of the unborn girl? Why do countries all over the world think it’s ok to dispose of their daughters?

 

This lack of respect for women can be attributed to cultural values, political situations, wars, family dynamics, and other factors, but no matter what is blamed for the problem, girls are still dying every day. The common thread between all situations of female gendercide is a failure to see women and girls as created in the image of God. If mothers and daughters were universally seen as priceless creations of God, aborting, abandoning, and abusing them would be unthinkable.

 

Our broken perception of human life cannot be healed by one fix-all solution. God alone knows how to end gendercide forever. While we can be encouraged that this is all in God’s hands, it does not mean that we should just sit by and let gendercide happen. God gave us the amazing gift of being able to partner with Him in His work, and He will use us if we make ourselves available. Whatever we have to offer, whether it’s devoting our lives to this issue or praying for it once a week, God will use it in mighty ways.

 

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18-20)

 

By Emilie, All Girls Allowed


All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and revealing the injustice of the One-Child Policy.  “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”


 

 

 

 

 



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