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Sex selection in India
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atlas_mugged0 Offline
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Post: #1
Sex selection in India

Just read an article in The economist on sex selection and the consequence of a world with more men.

http://www.economist.com/node/21525348

What do you think we need to do to fight this silent social evil?
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Pratibha Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Sex selection in India

I haven't read the book, but if that review is anything to go by, it must be a load of nonsense. Fetal sex selection is, of course, a problem in India. It has been recognized as such. I don't know of any other country where prenatal sex determination is illegal, and where even a hint by the doctor can land him/her in prison. But, to blame technology for what is inherently a social evil, is just plain wrong.

Ultrasound is a routine diagnostic tool to detect fetal or uterine abnormalities. Ideally, every pregnant woman should have at least 3 ultrasounds examinations at different gestational stages in order to be able to diagnose any complications or abnormalities associated with the pregnancy. Fetal sex identification is just one of those extra things that the ultrasound analysis can do, just like the latest 3-d videos of the baby's scan that you can take home with you

I find it a little hard to believe that international aid agencies would encourage sex-selective abortions as an answer to control the Indian population growth, as the book seems to suggest.
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atlas_mugged0 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Sex selection in India

Completely agree with you. It's incredible how this entrenched prejudice against girl child is being encouraged by international agencies. The consequence of an unbalanced sex ratio will be devastating to our society. What are the solutions for this misogynistic Indian mentality?
(This post was last modified: 24-08-2011 07:58 PM by atlas_mugged0.)
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Lije Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Sex selection in India

Dawkins wrote about Hvistendahl's book calling her out for blaming the problem on science and western govts.

Hvistendahl responds to Dawkins and defends herself by pointing out that she doesn't say that at all, but only says that a few scientists wanted to use ultrasound specifically for population control:

Quote:I included this background in my book to show that the causes underlying the tragedy sweeping through Asia include more than what Mr. Dawkins alludes to as an “ancient culture of despising women.” While Western science is not to blame for the disappearance of tens of millions of females from the global population, some Westerners did play a role in bringing sex selection to Asia. It is this role I hope we can discuss.

However, I think she is stretching it a bit too far by saying “because blaming backward cultural traditions is simpler.” and as such the cause lies elsewhere (Western governments). Causes don't need to work in isolation. A seed will sprout quickly in a fertile land than in a barren land. You can't just point to the seed and ignore the nature of the soil.

(24-08-2011 07:57 PM)atlas_mugged0 Wrote:  Completely agree with you. It's incredible how this entrenched prejudice against girl child is being encouraged by international agencies.

Who are you agreeing with? Hvistendahl or Pratibha? Because I doubt Pratibha will agree with "prejudice against girl child is being encouraged by international agencies". Also, even Hvistendahl isn't saying "is being encouraged", but saying "was encouraged by a few people".
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Sex selection in India

Sorry for skipping the nuance in your arguments, folks. I'd just like to make a general statement on this issue.

Sex-selective abortion happens in India, and the technology is being used to further it. These are the facts. Of course, the technology itself is value-neutral. But when there is so much ignorance in the culture at large, technology is that much easier to abuse. Isn't it?

1. If you disagree, please present your counter arguments. I haven't thought it out fully, and I'd like to learn.
2. If you agree, what can we do about it?!

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Sex selection in India

(25-08-2011 12:24 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:  Sex-selective abortion happens in India, and the technology is being used to further it. These are the facts. Of course, the technology itself is value-neutral. But when there is so much ignorance in the culture at large, technology is that much easier to abuse. Isn't it?

This is a quick aside, presenting a rethink of the commonly accepted notion that 'Technology itself is value-neutral'. Here is an Edge article suggesting that 'Technologies Have Biases'.
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Pratibha Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Sex selection in India

Thanks for the links, Lije

Quote:While Western science is not to blame for the disappearance of tens of millions of females from the global population, some Westerners did play a role in bringing sex selection to Asia. It is this role I hope we can discuss.

The original review posted here was not so benign. Anyways, let's go with her argument for a while and cosider that these Westerners did indeed introduce amniocentesis and ultrasound diagnostics to India with the express aim of population control. Well, so what? If they hadn't introduced it, how long would it be before Indian scientists and doctors realized the implications of the technology and brought it to the country.

Quote:Sex-selective abortion happens in India, and the technology is being used to further it. These are the facts. Of course, the technology itself is value-neutral. But when there is so much ignorance in the culture at large, technology is that much easier to abuse. Isn't it?

Yes, of course. Looking at temporal changes in the sex ratio in India, there is a significant dip in the 1961-1971 decade, which might suggest a link with the availability of prenatal sex determination techniques. Having said that, however, I might also add that the figures for sex-ratio at birth have been more encouraging in the past couple of decades, even in the worst offending states like Punjab. This might have something to do with the stringent laws against prenatal sex determination.

In any case, even if the easy access to ultrasound technology has facilitated a skewing of the sex ratio, it doesn't in any way mean that the technology itself should be targetted. I might be biased in my evaluation. I've extensively used ultrasound throughout my pregnancy and the only reason we have two healthy babies now is because of the technology. Working with clinical geneticists, I read reports on prenatal diagnosis every single day. I realize the value of these technologies. IMO, the correct way to tackle the problem is not by restricting access to the technology, but by ensuring the proper use of it. The Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) is, at least on paper, a very strong act. If only it were enforced as strongly.

I might also mention here that the traditional way of ensuring a preponderance of male children has been female infanticide, a tool that is still being used, and doesn't require any of these above-mentioned technologies.
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Prahalad Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Sex selection in India

Hi

I know that this is a late reply but I thought I should mention that unfortunatly this sick practice has also been carried over to other countries due to immigration.

In countries like UK and Australia the health professionals now try and reveal the gender of the baby as late as possible to couples of South Asian origin. (Unfortunatly the couples then take a holiday 'back home'.)

Personally it makes me angry that because of the backwards mentality of others, my wife and I will be treated as pottential female child murderers every time we go for a health check when she's pregnant.

Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
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kaamil20
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Post: #9
RE: Sex selection in India

Abortion is bankrupting Europe, population is declining in Russia, much of Europe.
In India,
It is so tragic, adults deciding who lives and who doesn't
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