April 29, 2011


Gendercide in China and India

Technology can be used for good or evil purposes. A prime example is the technology that enables us to see a child in a mother’s womb at an early stage in her pregnancy. Those images of a baby have convinced many mothers not to have an abortion.

Unfortunately, they have also encouraged many mothers to have an abortion, especially in developing countries where parents want a boy and are ready to abort the baby if she is a girl.

Horrendous things are happening in both China and India. We all know about China’s one-child policy, which has been in effect for 30 years.

In an effort to reduce its population, married couples in China may have only one child. Hundreds of millions of women have undergone abortions and sterilizations—either forcibly because they conceived a second child or voluntarily, in the case of abortions—because they learned that the child they had conceived was a girl.

India doesn’t have such a policy, but sex selection there is also prevalent. It is estimated that 600,000 Indian babies are aborted every year just because ultrasound technology showed that they are girls.

Doing ultrasounds has become a big business in India. It is illegal to do them in order to determine a baby’s sex because the government is fighting against gendercide, but, as an article in the April 9 issue of The Economist says, “The law is almost impossible to enforce. Slapping the father on the back and saying ‘You’re a lucky man’ is hint enough.”

As that article points out, 600,000 missing girls this year will become, in 18 years’ time, more than 10 million missing future brides. It is estimated that 400 million people are missing from the Chinese population. Its fertility rate dropped from 6.1 children per woman in 1960 to 1.3 today.

China’s one-child policy has been altered only slightly during its 30 years of existence. In some rural areas and under certain conditions, couples whose first child was a girl are sometimes permitted to have another child.

In a society where boys are still preferred, girl babies in China are often abandoned so a couple can try for a boy. If they are lucky, the girl babies end up in an orphanage. Many of them have been adopted by American couples, but the Chinese government has made that difficult to do.

If a couple manages to have a second child without permission, that child is known as a “black child.” He or she doesn’t exist as far as the government is concerned. Therefore, he or she cannot go to school, receive medical treatment at a clinic, or get a government job when he or she grows up. He or she may not marry and have a child. It is unknown how many “black children” are in China since they don’t exist in the eyes of the government.

China’s population is aging now. In a few years, it will start shrinking.

As John Allen Jr. wrote in his book The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, “China will age as much in one generation as Europe has in the last 100 years, prompting the observation that it will be the first Asian nation to get old before it gets rich.”

Steve Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, has written, “The Chinese population is aging faster than any human population in human history. The worker/dependency ratio is unsustainable. How can an only child support two parents and four grandparents in retirement?”

What probably will happen is that China will encourage millions of elderly Chinese people to accept euthanasia, perhaps, Mosher suggests, “in return for their only grandchild being allowed to go to college. Forced abortion and forced euthanasia are two sides of the same debased coin.”

In India, it is not forced abortion, but abortion nevertheless.

The ratio of male to female births in both countries is causing serious social problems, especially among the poor.

In India, women are inclined, and encouraged, to marry into higher income brackets or caste, leaving poor men in permanent bachelorhood. This has given rise to an increase in prostitution, homosexuality and bride-trafficking from nearby countries, mainly Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Unfortunately, we know of no moral solution until women in those societies are valued as much as men.

—John F. Fink

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