By Hilary White

BANGALORE, July 23, 2007 ( – Unwanted girl babies in India are killed after birth by a variety of methods including being smothered with a pillow or cloth, drowned in milk, fed poisoned seeds or burned alive in sealed mud pots; but according to a recently published book, the most popular form of femicide is now abortion, with the assistance of ultrasound to determine the child’s sex.

“Disappearing Daughters”, a new book by an Indian woman journalist, Gita Aravamudhan, published by Penguin Books, calls “female foeticide” “an organized crime.”

“The ultrasound machine has mutated into an instrument of murder,” she said. Aravamudhan writes in the preface that the book started as a journalistic “story” like any other, but soon escalated into the biggest issue she had ever investigated. “Female infanticide is akin to serial killing. But female foeticide was more like a holocaust. A whole gender is getting exterminated.”

A recent report by UNICEF said India kills almost 7,000 girls per day by abortion. Recent statistics show that the population of India is heavily weighted towards males with only 927 females for every 1,000 males, a contrast from the usual 1050 females in other countries. UK-based medical journal, the Lancet estimates the number of girls killed by abortion in India at 10 million over the last 20 years.

“It is a silent and smoothly executed crime,” Aravamudhan writes, “which leaves no waves in its wake. It is happening while we, as a nation, slumber. In some parts of the country almost two generations of women have been exterminated before I completed this book and there is still no solution in sight.”

In an interview with The Hindu, Aravamudhan, described as a writer on “gender” issues for 27 years, said she was shocked to find that female “foeticide” was most common among the wealthy and well educated.

“Foeticide happened among the rich, the powerful, the educated; those who were aware of family planning!…There was a deep link between female foeticide and factors like wealth, education, success of family planning, and medical progress,” she said.

With most international aid organisations working in India pushing abortion and smaller families, a book such as this contrasts with official government-sponsored population control campaigns. editor John Henry Westen, during a trip to India last year, reported that even among the strongly Catholic Christian population of Kerala, small families are considered “moral.”

Westen interviewed Sunny Kattukaran, the leader of a pro-life group in India known as Trust God (Pro-Life) Ministry, who laid the blame squarely on western-based population control movements.

“The Americans, the UN and other funding agents, when they release some funds as loans they ask our statistics on birth control, and insist on family planning criteria, only then do they pump money,” Kattukaran said.

Read related coverage:

7,000 Unborn Girls Die From Sex-Selection Abortion Daily in India

India Pro-Life Leader Explains How West Hurts India with Imposed Population Control


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