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Femicide as a Human Interest Story

lmarshalls Icon Posted by Lucinda Marshall

June 25th, 2006

The CBS Evening News ran an appalling piece on June 24 about a clinic in Encino, CA where parents can use PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis) to decide if it’s a boy or a girl. According to reporter Vince Gonzales, “there is a fear that people will overselect boys.”

While the doctor who runs the clinic, where 60% of the clients are from abroad, claims that just as many of his clients choose girls as boys, the problem of overselection of boys is not just a fear as Gonzales puts it but a very real problem. In India alone, in a study reported by the Deccan Herald, researchers have found that some 10 million girls have gone missing in the last two decades.

Around 10 million female foetuses may have been aborted in India over the past two decades because of ultrasound sex screening and a traditional preference for boys, according to a study published online in The Lancet . Researchers based in Canada and India looked through data from a national survey, conducted among 1.1 million households in 1998, and at information about 133,738 births in 1997.

Tens of millions of girl babies that would normally be expected in the population have gone missing in China and other countries as well. This isn’t a fear of overselection of boys, it is femicide, something that is recognized in most of the rest of the world (and why sex selection is illegal or restricted in many places, although it is perfectly legal here).

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