Female Infanticide is a concern that we must look at very deeply. At a national conference for the government’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative, women and child development minister, Maneka Gandhi talked about a district collector’s effort to save unwanted girl children.

Gandhi recollected an incident where the said collector promoted the idea “ladki ko mat maaro, paida kar lo aur agar nahi chahiye toh anathashram mein daal do (don’t kill the girl child, put her in orphanage if you don’t want her)”.

She said, “Within a week, 95 newly born girls reached the orphanage. But the upside of it was that the agency processed the adoption of all the girls in three months.”

“I have 20,000 potential adopters and Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has only 300-400 children up for adoption. Mainly people give up girls who need special care.”

The minister appealed to people who are running adoption agencies to promote the idea of putting up unwanted girl children for adoption and not kill them. “So CARA can get their adoption done and it will eventually stop the killing,” the WCD minister added.

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Adoption over abortion?

While this may help a certain section of society, it is not a solution for all sections as we see many women going for abortions. Social activist, Ngurang Reena, is of the view that Gandhi’s latest comment/suggestion on encouraging adoption over abortion is nothing but a rhetoric on  “good” vs “bad” or simply, on the ethics of abortion.

“I have 20,000 potential adopters and Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has only 300-400 children up for adoption. Mainly people give up girls who need special care.”

Reena does not feel that adoption is an alternative to abortion. “In fact, posing adoption as the universal solution to unwanted pregnancies (especially girl child) is obsolete. Because it provides all the more reasons to ‘give away’ the girl child. Imagine all the unwanted girl children flooding the ‘market’,” Reena said.

“Of course, it does allow other families to intervene and adopt, especially with those not able to conceive. But we must remember that ours is a country, still progressing, with societal and legal stigma surrounding abortion combined with adoption’s relative accessibility, adoption still accounts for a rare choice,” added Reena.

Putting adoption as superior to abortion is denying choice to women—What is imperative today is, to present truthfully, without demonizing abortion or idealizing adoption, says activist Ngurang Reena

Adoption does help many families gain the happiness of having a child in their homes. However, to say that the idea of giving up unwanted girl children to orphanages will stop female infanticide is far-fetched to say the least.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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