These days contraception methods are mostly reliable and still can be so, even if user error is a problem. Some of those methods have unproven long term effects. Women in some countries and with relative degrees of affluence, also have available to them, the ‘morning after’ pill, legal abortion, illegal abortion and education about what was once quaintly known as ‘family planning’.It has often been remarked that if men where the ones to bear children, effective, efficient, non-damaging contraception would have been invented decades ago!
How to avoid pregnancy has probably been a subject for discussion amongst women ever since women first discovered the connection between having sex and pregnancy. The history of women’s efforts to control their fertility is fascinating and generally a mark of their general freedoms and how much they are allowed in the society they live in to have a voice and make decisions about their own lives. How often in Western countries we see white, middle-aged men involved in legislation concerning women and in areas of life of which they have and can never have, direct experience! Perhaps like me, you believe that it is women who should decide about matters which directly affect women, like abortion, sterilisation, child-birth, breast-feeding, contraception and pregnancy. We may be shocked and horrified by practices in other countries, while forgetting the strange practices in our own – the Prom Night Pregnancy; the belief that it’s not ok to have an abortion although adoption is acceptable; the expensive, invasive, often damaging practices of the reproductive technology industry; the bizarre and saddening TV programs on teen pregnancy; the lack of real education on pregnancy avoidance; beliefs that teens should not be or are not sexual beings; beliefs about adoptees being blank slates; beliefs that young babies are not sentient beings; the absence of good parenting skills and the need for the Super Nanny! and so on and on…….
It is with horror that we hear about the abuses perpetrated against women in countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Tibet, enforced sterilisations, forced removal of children, the child brides of Turkey, forced infanticide in India, female genital mutilation, the rape and degradation of women and girls in wartime, the ‘comfort’ women imprisoned by the Japanese and a seemingly endless list of abuses, violence and disempowerments acted out against women and girls endlessly.
Without looking into figures, facts and research here, it is my distinct impression over a number of years, that the countries in which women are the least valued, the most abused or have the least rights, are the countries from which the most transnational adoptions take place. China, with it’s one child policy sees it as the duty of the State to remove ‘extra’ children from their parents and place them in orphanages for international adoption, if they have somehow escape abortion or murder at birth by lethal injection. Another of China’s lucrative overseas export markets. Girls are useful in China and boys become ‘Little Emperors’ (http://thediplomat.com/china-power/little-emperor-syndrome)- overweight, over pampered and over demanding. Girls it seems are valued for their price on the market and enthusiastically promoted to adopters by Orphanage staff who usually go through a staged ‘Gotcha’, a performance rehearsed over and over again with each fresh batch of girls being adopted. Just check out some of those Gotcha Day vids on YouTube! The ones that will haunt the subjects for the rest of their lives.
“Systematic, sex-selective abortion constitutes gendercide. Because of this gendercide, there are an estimated 37 million more men than women in China today. The presence of these “excess males” is the driving force behind human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but from surrounding nations as well.”
“The Chinese Communist Party recently admitted to performing 196 million sterilizations. These sterilizations too often leave women butchered and maimed, and can at times be deadly,” says Littlejohn. “I first learned of the brutality of China’s One Child Policy by representing a woman who had been forcibly sterilized. Family Planning Officials literally dragged her out of her home kicking and screaming, held her down to a table and cut her open with no anesthesia. She said it felt like someone was burning her insides with a blowtorch. Since then she has lived in chronic pain. We need to fight forced sterilization as much as forced abortion in China.”
“As Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen famously pointed out in 1990, in many parts of the world, especially in Asia, girls and women are so much more likely to be abused, neglected, or killed, that female life expectancy falls far short of male life expectancy. As a result as many as 200 million girls and women who should be alive today are not.
China, the world’s most populous nation, also has the world’s most biased sex ratio. India, the second most populous nation, is the second largest contributor to the “missing women” problem. Much of the scholarship surrounding Asia’s missing women gets distracted by the cultural differences involved, like China’s one-child policy, and India’s caste system and dowry customs. But, as sociologist Monica das Gupta argues, “the striking similarities [among countries] in patterns of son preference stem from commonalities in the kinship systems in these [countries]”.
And the places in which sex-ratios are most out of hand also share easy access to diagnostic ultrasound, and doctors who are unscrupulously over-eager to abort pregnancies. In China this happens because the government is so obsessive about population control. In India the problem comes from profit-driven clinics.
Not only do the millions of neglected daughters, female infanticides and sex-selective abortions constitute a massive humanitarian tragedy, the consequences of male-biased sex ratios may well turn out to be world-changing.”
“And economist Lena Edlund estimates, using pre- and post-one-child data from China, that every one percent increase in the sex ratio results in a six percent increase in the rates of violent and property crime. In China, those places where sex-ratios are most male-biased are experiencing spikes in gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, kidnapping and trafficking of women.”
“Underpinning China’s birth control policy is an ideological conviction that national minorities are “racially inferior”. Since 1988 its controversial eugenics plan to raise ‘population quality’ has been particularly directed at national minorities, including Tibetans. The presentation of the Draft National Law on Eugenics in December 1993, combined with the unsubstantiated announcement of high numbers of mentally defective Tibetans, indicates China’s strong intention to apply eugenic controls on Tibetans in the future. It is also likely that there will be even more limits on the number of children. In a ministerial statement the minorities were identified as one of the groups responsible for the “inferior quality births” which China aims to stop. This new law, if implemented, is likely to lead to stricter and possibly more discriminatory birth control regulations in Tibet (1994 TIN Survey; pp.3-4).”
And in india – “Beed District is notorious for foeticide and female infanticide,” said Dr Pascoal Carvalho, member of the Pontifical Academy of Life, who spoke to AsiaNews. “It also has one of the most skewed male-female ratios for children under 6: 801 to 1,000.” The latest (2011) census tells the same sad tale “for the whole of India.”
“In 1991, there were 4.2 million fewer girls than boys. In 2001, that were 6.2 million and now they are 7.1 million,” Dr Carvalho said.
This “great social evil” is “cultural,” he explained. “Our society is patriarchal and boys have always been favoured. Females are seen as a burden; someone to educate and then give away in marriage with a hefty dowry. Once married, women are not respected until they give birth to a baby boy.
The problem is compounded by greedy physicians who take advantage of a social problem to enrich themselves.
Pre-natal sex testing is illegal in India, but (illegal and expensive) private clinics are willing to turn a blind eye for a fee.
“By killing female foetuses, the couple of doctors made a fortune,” said Dr Carvalho, who is also a member of the Diocesan Human Life Commission in Mumbai.
Police in fact found that the husband and wife team had amassed assets worth 1.5 billion (US$ 21.7 million), including 160 acres of farmland, two plots in Parli town, four bungalows and 12 vehicles.”
The husband and his son also had “40 bank accounts and two flats in Aurangabad.”
In most countries where famine, food shortages and poverty are common, so also is Transnational adoption unless it has been banned for illegal practices which are so blatant they can no longer be overlooked, even by the American adoption industry which has few scruples and less ethics.
And some more links of interest –