Religion & Liberty Online

Sex-Selective Abortions Linked To Abuse Of Females

india girlThe U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee held a hearing last week on India’s missing girls. In today’s Washington Times, Chris Smith, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey and chair of the hearing, discusses the connection between sex-selective abortions and India’s massive problem with physical and sexual abuse of females.

The roots of the present problem lie not only with cultural factors, such as the demand for dowries paid by the bride’s family, but also misbegotten policy decisions. These include population-control programs such as sex-selection abortion schemes that were hatched in the United States by Planned Parenthood, the Population Council and others, which have had a disproportionately negative impact on India’s women.

Sex-selection abortion is cruel and discriminatory. It is violence against women. Most people in and out of government remain woefully unaware of the fact that sex-selection abortion is a violent, nefarious and deliberate policy imposed on the world by the pro-abortion population-control movement — it’s not an accident. Lawmakers in India, the United States and worldwide must defend women from this vicious assault.

Matthew Connelly, a historian from Columbia University, spoke at the hearing, noting that sex-selective abortions were first touted as a way to deal with “overpopulation.” Further testimony from Mara Hvinstendahl, who has written a book on the longer-term consequences of sex-selective abortions:

Hvinstendahl…recounted in her book “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” that ‘By August 1969, when the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Population Council convened another workshop on population control, sex selection had become a pet scheme . Sex selection, moreover, had the added advantage of reducing the number of potential mothers if a reliable sex determination technology could be made available to a mass market,’ there was ‘rough consensus’ that sex selection abortion ‘would be an effective, uncontroversial and ethical way of reducing the global population.’

In other words, fewer women, fewer mothers, fewer future children.

Sabu George, a member of India’s Campaign Against Sex Selection, also spoke at the hearing, going so far as to call sex-selective abortions “genocide.” The shortage of women, George believes, may lead to many men “sharing” one wife. A human trafficking expert, Jill McElya with the Invisible Girls Project, added,

…sex trafficking, sexual assault and violence against women are an intense problem in the country, and ‘the root is gendercide.’

The United Nations estimates that 50 million women ‘are missing from India’s population,’ she said, explaining that millions of Indian men ‘will not marry because their potential wives have been murdered, due to female feticide, female infanticide, and deadly forms of neglect.’

This sex disparity leads to the use and abuse of girls, McElya said, pointing to a high profile gang rape that resulted in the death of a young woman in New Delhi last winter, as well as the rape, abandonment, and death of a 5-year-old girl in April.

‘These two crimes are examples of the evil frequently inflicted upon women and girls in India,’ she said.

Every person, regardless of gender, ability or place of birth, has value and dignity. Any attempt to undermine a person’s dignity is an affront to anyone who values human life.


Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.