Activists go undercover to expose India’s illegal sex-selective abortions

 

 

March 27, 2017 New Delhi (CNN)

A pregnant woman sat in a hospital consultation room in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. She wanted to know the sex of her baby, she told the doctor.

 

In many countries, this would be a routine process, all part of becoming a new parent. But in India — where thousands of female fetuses are aborted every year — revealing the sex of an unborn child has been illegal since 1994.

 

Nevertheless, the doctor offered to tell the woman the sex of her baby for a one-off payment of 12,500 rupees ($190). She agreed and paid for the service, documenting everything on a hidden spy camera.
Last week, a court in Malegaon convicted the doctor and his brother of running a sex-selection clinic and abortion racket. They face three years in jail and a fine, according to police.

 
The sting, which caught them was set up by Maharashtra-based activist Varsha Deshpande, founder of Lek Ladki Abhiyan, an organization dedicated to fighting sex-selective abortions. The woman was a pregnant volunteer recruited by Deshpande.

 
Since 2004, Deshpande said, they have carried out dozens of investigations, which have resulted in 20 convictions.

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Getting worse

US-based NGO Invisible Girl Project estimates that five million to seven million sex-selective abortions are carried out in India every year.

 
In 2001, India’s census recorded a child sex ratio of around 93 girls to every 100 boys. By 2016, according to the World Economic Forum, the ratio was closer to 89.

 
“This gender gap has resulted in villages where men have no women to marry, because the women are non-existent,” said Invisible Girl Project CEO Jill McElya.

 
“So children are trafficked into villages to become brides, or young women are trafficked into brothels.” Deshpande said the problem has been getting worse in Maharashtra “for the last three years,” pointing to a failure to enforce the law.

 
While most activists rely on awareness raising and pressuring the government, Deshpande has always favored direct action. In the early days, before she received any donations or outside help, she used cheap Walkmans to record audio for evidence.

 
Concerned tipsters can now call a hotline to share information about a doctor offering sex-selection tests. Members of Deshpande’s team then go along with a pregnant volunteer to collect evidence on how the doctor or nurse is breaking the law.

 
Unless the government steps up enforcement of the law, Deshpande said she believes this is the only way to stop the abortions.

 
“There’s a deterrent effect,” she said.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare did not respond to a request for comment.

 
India first banned sex-selection in 1994. However, activists said that the law left many loopholes, and Deshpande worked with many others to bring about further reform in 2002, which made the legislation more stringent.

 
Almost 15 years later however, Deshpande, who sits on a national committee created by that legislation, said the “political will” to actually enforce the regulations does not exist.

 
The law requires practitioners using ultrasound technology to register with the government. It also prohibits companies from selling ultrasound machines to those not registered and requires local officials to educate the public against sex-selection.

 
“Until the judicial system works like it should and the courts uphold the law, there will be no true systemic change,” McElya said.

 
Deshpande agrees. “If we start implementing it, then we can stop it within one year,” she said.

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‘My grandfather didn’t kill his daughters’

Preference for sons over daughters in India, as with other Asian countries, comes from a cultural belief that daughters are economic burdens and sons are not. Cultural practices such as requiring a bride provide a dowry reinforce this.

 
They would see a daughter as a liability. A daughter means you have to spend. Sons are called blank checks,” said Vibhuti Patel, a professor at Mumbai’s Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University.

 
“(In-laws) know they’re going to get easy money from dowry.”

 
Patel grew up in a Gujarati family where she heard stories of uncles choosing to kill unborn females.

 
“My grandfather was the only person who did not kill his daughters,” she said. And by that logic, “he was supposed to be poor.”

 
The practice is not limited to poor families however. Patel said that sex-selective abortions carried out at a clinic are expensive, and are primarily found among the upper classes, who want to keep their property and assets within the family.

 
For now, the fight continues, Patel said: “If there’s a demand, they will provide a supply.”

 
Link to article

 
We are thankful for your support in helping us fight to end gendercide in India. 
Gratefully,

 
The IGP Team

Watch Reggie’s Speech at the San Francisco Walk for Life (Video!)

WRWF President Reggie Littlejohn was a keynote speaker at the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco last month, which was attended by an estimated 50,000 people.  Littlejohn stated, “I am grateful to Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan for caring about the women and babies of China, who are still undergoing forced abortion and sterilizations under the new Two-Child Policy.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to surprise my daughter, Anni, with a memorable birthday gift!”   Littlejohn invited the entire crowd to join her in singing Happy Birthday to Anni, whose birthday was the day after the Walk.

Reggie addresses 50,000 at the West Coast Walk for Life, flanked by husband Rob, daughters Anni and Ruli Zhang, Fr. Frank Pavone, President of Priests for LIfe, and Lori Hoye, Co-Head of the Issues4Life Foundation.

Reggie addresses 50,000 at the West Coast Walk for Life, flanked by husband Rob, daughters Anni and Ruli Zhang, Fr. Frank Pavone, President of Priests for LIfe, and Lori Hoye, Co-Head of the Issues4Life Foundation.

Littlejohn continued, “Anni was almost forcibly aborted at 6 to 7 months.  Family Planning Police were pressuring her mother daily to abort her, because she was her father’s second child.  As a second daughter, she could have been a victim of sex-selective abortion.  But her brave parents sacrificed greatly to bring her into this world, and we’re so glad she’s here!”

Littlejohn pointed out that Anni was born on January 22, 2003, the thirtieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, now Celebration of Life Day.  “I believe that Anni symbolizes all the beauty, brilliance and love of Chinese girls, every one of whom deserves to draw breath on this earth.”  Littlejohn and others rescued Anni and her sister Ruli from China three years ago.  Littlejohn and her husband are now raising Anni as their own daughter. Once in America, Littlejohn discovered that Anni has an amazing talent playing piano.  Anni won an international contest and performed piano in Carnegie Hall just before Christmas, 2016.  She had only been playing three years.

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For more information, please visit http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/index.php

 

Woman 8 months pregnant forced to abort or lose job

According to a report published by Shanghai online news portal Sixth Tone, a Guangdong couple has been told they must have an abortion or both lose their government jobs.  unnamed

The couple, surnamed Zhong, both have a child from a previous marriage.  They thought that they could have a child together under China’s new Two-Child Policy, as is the case in other provinces in China.  They were mistaken, under the current laws of Guangdong.

The due date of Zhong’s child is September 10.  She told Sixth Tone that she felt depressed, anxious, trapped.  “I can’t give up on this child, as I’m almost 40,” she said.  “And it wouldn’t be easy for us to find jobs again, given our ages.”  Zhong shares her anxieties on WeChat, where approximately 500 people have gathered to share similar experiences.

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “The Chinese Communist propaganda machine made a big deal out of its shift to a Two-Child Policy, announcing that they had “abandoned” the One-Child Policy.  I immediately stated that this minor modification would not end coercion, and now the proof is beginning to leak out.  Our hearts go out to the Zhong family.  They are brave indeed to stand up to the intense government pressure to abort at eight months or both lose their jobs.  The Chinese government is doing its best to force them to have an abortion by exerting intense financial pressure.  The fact that there are 500 people commiserating with them on WeChat demonstrates that they are not alone.  This would indicate a pattern or practice of continuing coercion.”

Another Guangdong native, He Liping, is six months pregnant.  She faces a crippling fine:  “I had no idea that we’re not qualified to have a second child until I went to register for a birth permit with the local neighborhood committee.”  Her husband had a child before marrying her, and they have a two-year old together.  She is now six months pregnant.  Fines for illegal children in Foshan run 260,000 yuan ($39,000).  “It’s a huge amount of money for an average family like mine,” He told Sixth Tone.

 

Littlejohn continued:  “He Liping does not face joblessness, but rather what I call a ‘terror fine.’  These fines can be up to ten times a person’s annual salary.  Most people cannot afford to pay these fines and are forced to have abortions. In addition, the Chinese government announced earlier this year that they had abolished the birth permit system for first and second children.  Clearly, this is not the case.

 

“The Chinese Communist Party has not agreed to get out of the bedrooms of the Chinese people.  The fact that Sixth Tone is a State-controlled media outlet indicates that even within the Chinese Communist Party there are those who recognize the human tragedy and appalling injustice of coercive population control.  We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated.  Take action by signing our petition against forced abortion in China.”

 

Watch — Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)

 

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/?nav=stop-forced-abortion

 

Read the original Sixth Tone article:

 

Guangdong Families Told to Have Abortion or Lose Job

 

http://www.sixthtone.com/news/guangdong-families-told-have-abortion-or-lose-job


Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, testified before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on April 30th, 2015 to discuss this further.

wrwf.png

To read Littlejohn’s full testimony and her expert opinion on why China’s Communist Party will not eliminate the policy, please follow this link:

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=1995

Gendercide may well be the most serious human rights violation and form of discrimination against girls and women happening on earth today. As many as 200 million girls are missing because of gendercide and extreme human rights violations as we see with the enforcement of China’s one-child policy. Now is the time to stand up for girls and women everywhere!


The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.

Petition to End Female Gendercide in India

Act to End Female Gendercide

IAG-IGP-petition India’s massive gender gap has resulted in human trafficking. In a country where there are 37 million more men than women, girls are trafficked into brothels and also into villages as brides for men who have no women to marry. To fight trafficking, we must also fight gendercide in India.

Annually, the US State Department addresses trafficking in India in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, holding India accountable for steps it is taking to reduce trafficking. The 2013 TIP Report recognized the link between trafficking and gendercide in India, stating that girls and women were “being sold or coerced into forced marriages in states with low female-to-male gender ratios.” The State Department did not further recognize gendercide as the root of trafficking, however. And since then, it has not further addressed India’s low sex ratios and the resulting trafficking. Because gendercide leads to trafficking, focusing only on trafficking is futile.

Our officials need to know you care about girls and women in India and you want the U.S. to take action to stop both gendercide and trafficking there. Please take action now.

Sign the Petition Now

Watch this video for more information on the Invisible Girl Project:

Visit IGP’s website, www.InvisibleGirlProject.org for more information! 

 

Holistic Approach to Ending Gendercide

Invisible Girl Project (IGP) seeks to end gendercide (the selective killing of girls and women) in India.  One of the ways IGP combats gendercide is by empowering women.  Specifically, we work with an Indian partner that gives women a means to produce an income.

1455745104

IGP’s partner provides a cow on “loan” to a mother of a little girl.  The mother will earn an income from the sale of the milk that the cow produces.  The mother then pays back the loan from the sale of each liter of milk.  The $1000 cow loan is usually paid back over a period of a year.  That money can then be used to “pay it forward” to the next woman in need.

This earned income empowers the women financially.  If their family members pressure them to kill their daughters or threaten to abandon them if they keep their daughters, the mothers have a way to provide for themselves and their daughters.  IGP has found that the mothers and baby girls are protected in these villages when the women have an opportunity to earn an income for their families.

For every $1000 we raise, we can give ONE COW to a family.

Cow loans are just one integral component to a holistic approach in the fight to end gendercide in India.

Watch this video for more information on the Invisible Girl Project:

Give a cow today!

And, visit IGP’s new website, www.InvisibleGirlProject.org for more info! 

 

China Scraps Birth Permits; Violaters Will be “Punished”

The Chinese government announced this week that they will no longer require prior approval of first and second children for qualified couples under the new Two-Child Policy.

Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated:  “The fact that Birth Permits will no longer be required for first and second children is a positive development.  These Permits have been very difficult to obtain, sometimes requiring months of effort on the parts of couples seeking to have a child.  The English language announcement by the Chinese Communist Party-controlled media, however, omits important language that births not allowed by the two-child policy will be ‘punished.’ 

“It is still illegal in China for a single woman to give birth and such mothers will continue to face forced abortion.  Third children will continue to be aborted.  Family Planning Police will continue closely to monitor the fertility of women.  There is no promise that forced sterilizations after the second child – even a legal second child – will cease.”

An English translation of the full text of the paragraph abolishing birth permits reads as follows (emphasis added):

(VIII.)  Reforming the Management of Birth Service.  [The government] will implement the birth registration system; government approval is not needed for the birth of the first two children, and [such births] will be arranged by individual families.  [The government will] improve the management of childbirth for remarriages.  [The government will] simplify the procedures for such issues to make it convenient for the people.  [The government] will punish the birth of additional children outside of what is allowed in the Policy.

Littlejohn concluded:  “The Chinese Communist Party has not agreed to get out of the bedrooms of the Chinese people.  We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated.  Take action by signing our petition against forced abortion in China.”

 

Watch Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)

 


Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, testified before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on April 30th, 2015 to discuss this further.

wrwf.png

To read Littlejohn’s full testimony and her expert opinion on why China’s Communist Party will not eliminate the policy, please follow this link:

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=1995

Gendercide may well be the most serious human rights violation and form of discrimination against girls and women happening on earth today. As many as 200 million girls are missing because of gendercide and extreme human rights violations as we see with the enforcement of China’s one-child policy. Now is the time to stand up for girls and women everywhere!

 


The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.

 

 

 

Sevenly featuring Invisible Girl Project to Save Girls in India

This week, Sevenly is highlighting the work of It’s a Girl’s grassroots partner, Invisible Girl Project (IGP)!

Every shirt that Sevenly sells this week will support the work of Invisible Girl Project, such as help provide food, medical aid and protection to a young girl who is at risk of being abandoned or killed in India. Your support will not only rescue a little girl and help her mother keep and care for her, but also serves to restore the value of girls in the eyes of the community.

Watch this video for more information on the Invisible Girl Project:

Please go to www.sevenly.org/support-IGP and purchase a shirt to help SAVE THE LIFE OF A LITTLE GIRL IN INDIA today! 

And, visit IGP’s new website, www.InvisibleGirlProject.org for more info! 

 

China’s New Two-Child Policy Will Not End Gendercide or Forced Abortion

BREAKING: News reported today that China will move to a two-child policy

IAG- Chinas illegal daughtersXinhua News Agency reported today that China will move to a two-child policy for all couples, “abandoning its decades-long one-child policy.”

Characterizing this latest modification as “abandoning” the One-Child Policy is misleading.  A two-child policy will not end any of the human rights abuses caused by the One Child Policy, including forced abortion, involuntary sterilization or the sex-selective abortion of baby girls.

The reason given for this adjustment is entirely demographic: “to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.”  The adjustment is a tacit acknowledgement that continuation of the one-child policy will lead to economic and demographic disaster. The policy was originally instituted for economic reasons. It is ironic that through this very policy, China has written its own economic death sentence.

Noticeably absent from the Chinese Communist party’s announcement is any mention of human rights. Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception.

Coercion is the core of the policy.  Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion or forced sterilization.

The problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children “allowed.” Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion and forced sterilization.  There is no guarantee that the CCP will cease their appalling methods of enforcement.  Women will still have to obtain a government-issued birth permit, for the first and second child, or they may be subject to forced abortion.  It will still be illegal for an unmarried woman to have a child.  Regardless of the number of children allowed, women who get pregnant without permission will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables, and forced to abort babies that they want.

Further, instituting a two-child policy will not end gendercide. Indeed, areas in which two children currently are allowed are especially vulnerable to gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of females. According to the 2009 British Medical Journal study of data from the 2005 national census, in nine provinces, for “second order births” where the first child is a girl, 160 boys were born for every 100 girls. In two provinces, Jiangsu and Anhui, for the second child, there were 190 boys for every hundred girls born. This study stated, “sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males.” Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million Chinese men who will never marry because their future wives were terminated before they were born. This gender imbalance is a powerful, driving force behind trafficking in women and sexual slavery, not only in China, but in neighboring nations as well.

Liu-Xinwen-victim-of-forced-abortion-300x142

The government announcement does not mention the abolition of the household registration or hukou system, whereby children who are born without birth permits are denied birth certificates and are not eligible for healthcare or education.

Sending out the message that China has “abandoned” its one-child policy is detrimental to sincere efforts to stop forced abortion and gendercide in China, because this message implies that the one-child policy is no longer a problem. In a world laden with compassion fatigue, people are relieved to cross China’s one-child policy off of their list of things to worry about. But we cannot do that. Let us not abandon the women of China, who continue to face forced abortion, and the baby girls of China, who continue to face sex-selective abortion and abandonment. The one-child policy does not need to be modified. It needs to be abolished.


Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, testified before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on April 30th, 2015 to discuss this further.

wrwf.png

To read Littlejohn’s full testimony and her expert opinion on why China’s Communist Party will not eliminate the policy, please follow this link:

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=1995

Gendercide may well be the most serious human rights violation and form of discrimination against girls and women happening on earth today. As many as 200 million girls are missing because of gendercide and extreme human rights violations as we see with the enforcement of China’s one-child policy. Now is the time to stand up for girls and women everywhere!


The views expressed by guest contributors to the “It’s a Girl” blog represent the opinion of the individual author who contributes the content and should not be interpreted as being endorsed or approved by Shadowline Films. We feature these contributions to foster dialogue and exchange on gendercide and invite our readership to join the discussion.

AmazonSmile Donates to Invisible Girl Project to Save Girls in India

igpDo you shop on Amazon.com? We are happy to share this great news! With AmazonSmile, now you can support Invisible Girl Project just by doing what you already do: shop.

Please consider selecting Invisible Girl Project as your charity of choice! IGP is one of our action partners seeking to end the atrocity of gendercide in India. IGP raises global awareness concerning the loss of female lives in India, pursues justice for the lives lost, and assists Indian organizations in the rescue of and care for Indian girls.

“You shop. Amazon gives.”
Be sure to shop at smile.amazon.com and look for this indicator and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to Invisible Girl Project:
AmazonSmile

Watch this video for more information on the Invisible Girl Project:

Visit IGP’s website, www.InvisibleGirlProject.org for more info! 

 

India Floods the Internet With #SelfieWithDaughter Photos

swd

 

As part of his Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter) campaign, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a call to his country to celebrate the girl child in one of today’s most popular ways: using social media. His appeal was for parents to share a photo with their daughter using the hashtag #SelfieWithDaughter, and thousands positively responded.

I urge all of you, share a #SelfieWithDaughter. Also share a tagline that will encourage ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ : PM @narendramodi

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 28, 2015

PM Modi mentioned in an interview with the Indian Express that the idea for this social media push was brought to him by the head of a small village in Haryana, which has one of the most skewed sex ratio in the country. Bibipur, or “the women’s world,” is a village in Haryana that is working on spreading awareness of women’s issues and bringing women into the limelight. Read more here.

This campaign is certainly an inspiring example of culture change! It proves that a small group of people can have a significant impact when they stand for justice. 

Thank you for standing with us and the It’s a Girl campaign to end gendercide!