Tuesday, August 03, 2004

China bans gender-selective abortions

This story gave me the idea for the good news/bad news slant on women's issues - China is cracking down on abortions of female foetuses. Chinese families have a tough enough time as it is because of the one-child rule, and due to traditional and cultural values, they prefer to have male children. The problem is, when there are more boys than girls, many heterosexual adult males have no one to marry (unless a black market in baby girls and kidnapped women springs up, which it has). Here's an article on the subject in the Herald Trib, titled Seeking balance, Beijing bans sex-selective abortions

The whole thing harks back to that line from a margarine ad: "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature". (Which reminds me of Margaret Atwood again - though not specifically on women's issues - I highly recommend her other dystopian novel, Oryx and Crake.)

India is also trying to tackle the problem of using ultrasound and selective abortion to prevent girls from being born, which is mainly due to the (now outlawed) custom of paying hefty dowries for daughters. One bride became a hero because she refused to pay the groom's family's extortionate dowry demand. (This is supposed to be a "good news" entry, but the rebellious bride was a welcome exception. Also according to the Herald Trib, many dowry disputes lead to murder.)

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