Wednesday 18 April 2012

*sigh* 'Female Feticide' Again

All right, all right. Here we go. The most recent outbreak of shock and appallment over 'female feticide' wearies, worries, and disgusts me in about equal measures.

Wearies because I've been on this particular beat literally for
fucking years.

Worries because of the oh-so convenieeent timing of it.

Disgusts because of the putrid stew of misogyny and racism generated by it. Here's a sample of the comments at the Toronto Sun.
They should just sterilize them all and start deporting all Muslims and Canada would be a safer place to live and we would get our Merry Christmas back and our Canadian traditions back . Trudeau ruin this Country with his imigration policy

Read the comments on any media story and there will be gems like that.

And the normally sensible Toronto Star is not helping with tidbits of info like this:
Female feticide — the widely-condemned practice of aborting female fetuses due to a preference for sons — happens by the millions in China and India, where the practice has been deemed a “crime against humanity” by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India.

Both the Star and the Globe at least consulted another expert in the field -- the same one, Dr Jha -- to critique the research.
But the study’s greatest weakness is failing to determine the genders of the women’s previous children, said Prabhat Jha, chair of Disease Control at the University of Toronto. He also works at St. Michael’s Hospital as director of the Centre for Global Health Research.

“To really understand what these stats are, you have to understand what was the gender of the previous children in the family,” said Jha, who has done extensive research on female feticide in India.

“Selection happens at higher birth orders, which means you let nature decide the first child and if you have a girl, then a small number of homes say, ‘Well, we want a boy.’ That’s when they turn to sex-selective abortion.”

Even if this latest study proves that female feticide is happening in Ontario, it would reveal that it is occurring in very small numbers, Jha said.

Using the study’s findings, Jha calculated that there were about 245 “missing girls” for Indian-born mothers with at least two prior children — that’s less than one per cent of the 31,963 babies born to Indian women between 2002 and 2007.

“Important but subtle biases, such as higher migration of women who are about to give birth to a son might well explain this finding and suggest that selective abortion is not the explanation,” Jha said.

Typical, right? Media leading a SHRIEEEK-fest over a small, flawed study.

Here's the Star revealing that GTA hospitals are breaking the law in concealing patients' medical information. (Well, actually, the Star does NOT point out that law is being broken, just that information is being withheld at hospitals catering to large populations from 'certain' communities.)

And here's CTV with the SHOCKING fact that US clinics are advertising sex-selection services in ethnic media in Canada.

(Wanna bet the next cycle will bring the HORRIFYING news that one can order gender tests online? Since 2006?)

To recap: if it is happening, the numbers are small and restricted to 'certain' communities. The practice will NOT affect Canadian society.

And if it is happening, there is exactly ZERO than can be done about it by regulation or current law.

Abortion is legal. No woman has to give a reason.

On the other hand, concealing medical information is illegal.

It is pointless -- and insulting -- to restrict access to products or services that are available online or a short car journey away.

The problem, as we sane people have to keep pointing out, is patriarchy.

And, as we keep repeating, 'female feticide' is NOT a big gotcha for feminists. We're cool with all choices. Of course, we'd prefer that all choices be accurately informed and freely made.

We're working on that.


Anonymous said...

The thing that drives me crazy is how it is a fact -- women are not valued as highly as men; in business, in government, in courts, anywhere in society. YET, when it may be that someone is actively CHOSING A CHILD based upon that value, well, the shit hits that fan. Worried about gender selection? Fights for women's equality. Tax dowries.

fern hill said...

Yeah, me too. Your comment provoked this.

Beijing York said...

Another example of anti-feminists and racists banding together to shriek loud and long.

On a similar note, a recent study by a law professor (I think UBC) compared and contrasted how the courts ruled on cases of domestic murder of women and found that those deemed as "honour killing" received the full weight of penalties available to the judges. Others were often tempered with the "provocation" defence, leading to lighter sentencing.

Racist patriarchy is alive and kicking in our courts and hospitals.

JJ said...

"Abortion is legal. No woman has to give a reason."

Exactly. It doesn't matter what a woman's reasons are -- it's none of my business, or anyone else's. As far as I'm concerned, it can be for any reason or no reason at all. Not My Decision. Not My Business.

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