The word foeticide has largely been associated with female fetuses over the years, owing to the widespread practice of illegal sex-determination to abort them. However, female fetuses aren’t the only victims in the cruel practice. While there has been considerable reportage of female foeticide, the darker side that is unknown to most is the practice of male foeticide.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau data, more cases of male foeticide were reported over female foeticide in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. As per the data, 53 cases over male foeticde were reported as against the 50 cases of female foeticide. This clearly indicates a gross miscalculation in the reportage of foeticide as a larger issue.
An All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) study revealed that around 238 foetuses and newbrons had been disposed off in the posh South Delhi area between 1996 and 2012, of which 115 were males and 110 were females.
However, female fetuses outnumbered male fetuses in the five month gestational period. “Owing to the societal bias in favour of a male, this could mean that selective female foeticide happened during this period. In India, medical abortion is allowed only up to 20 weeks of gestational age and criminal abortions and selective female foeticide subsequent to antenatal sex determination are more likely before 20 weeks of pregnancy,” said Dr C Behera, one of the co-authors to PTI.
Sporadical cases of male foeticide have been reported by the Indian media in spurts every now and then. In 2006, the police busted an illegal foeticide racket in Punjab, where doctors were fooling couples into aborting their male fetuses, in the ruse of them being females in order to make quick money. During investiagation into the case, the police found close to 50 foetuses discarded in Patiala of which at least 20 were male.
Similarly, in 2010, a doctor in Ahmedabad was arrested for indulging in sex-determination and illegal foeticide. Of the 13 abandoned fetuses found near his clinic, six were male; three were female while the sex of the rest could not be determined.
A recent report in Indiaspend reported that Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the worst states to be a woman. In Rajasthan, the Barmer district in particular indulges in male foeticide, while celebrating the birth of the girl child, but for the wrong reasons. In many villages of this area, the women are involved in sex-traffcking and trade.
This is the alleged reason behind the rampant practice of male foeticide in the area, so as to bring in more girls into the trade. Some villages in this district have only 30% male population, while the women work as sex workers and earn money.
While these are just some instances from over the years, there are still numerous cases that go unreported with respect to male foeticide. And till such time that male foeticde gets the space it needs in the media , it will remain something that ‘does not exist’, in the eyes of many in our masochist society.