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Post by: Esther Neds
My name is Esther Neds and I am a 2L serving as a clerk for the Center for Global Justice, working on a project for Alliance Defending Freedom International. This semester I have been working specifically for ADF India by updating ADF with summaries of recent case law concerning sex-selective abortion law. India has strict laws concerning sonogram machines because of the trend in India to use that technology to determine the gender of the unborn baby, and if the baby is a girl, abort her. In fact, since the sonogram technology has been developed to determine the gender of the unborn baby, the number of girls per 1000 boys between the age of 0-6 years old dropped from 976 in 1961 to 914 in 2011.  Because of these alarming statistics the Indian government has prohibited the use of any pre-conception and prenatal diagnostic techniques to determine the sex of an unborn child. However, the courts have expressed many times that these laws, although a good thing, are not enough. Real change does not happen unless the culture changes. As long as men are still favored over women in Indian culture, people will continue trying to abort their baby girls.
Reading through some of these cases has made me consider the effect of technology on abortion in Indian compared to the effect of technology on abortion in the US. I have always considered technology to be a good thing in the US for the pro-life message. As science and technology advances it has become easier and easier to show that life does begin at conception, that these unborn babies are individual lives that deserve protection. However, that same technology in India has only allowed people to increase the number of abortions of little baby girls through sex-selective abortions. I think it has been a good reminder to me the strategies to address various human rights issues around the world will not be the same in every country and nor should they be. Changing laws to protect human rights is only half the battle. Changing the culture of how people think about the issue is the real factor that will determine whether the laws passed will have the intended effect. Strategies that work in one culture will fail in another.  Although sex-selective abortion laws in India do not make all abortions illegal, they are a good first step that way and, in the process, the laws protect the female population by promoting equality for women in India.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.