Saturday, June 2, 2012

Joy Aborted

Instead of teaching me how to fly, you clipped my wings, left me to die.”

Public memory has a very short life-span. True to the last alphabet. A few weeks back, the country was taken by a storm. A popular actor shedding tears on screen brought us to the edge of our chair. It made us think, it made us weep, we swore to work for mankind…the country grieved for her daughters. But where is that passion now? Lost to oblivion…

 And this is exactly the problem with our people. They hear but do not listen, they think but do not act, they feel but are too busy to take initiative. Meanwhile, social evils like female foeticide can take whatever route they want.

This attitude often spells doom for expecting mothers. The effects of a child’s wanton murder are far-reaching…some of them so apparently unrelated that we fail to see the connection.

Medical Effects:
Human body is a very fragile system and when it suffers through an abortion, the effects are severe. Repeated abortions can actually interfere with a woman’s ability to bear children. It leads to problems in conceiving a child again. It also increases the probability of a natural abortion.

It is often seen that women, who have undergone several abortions, often develop complications during their pregnancy. These might range from getting diabetes to a high blood pressure. These may make termination of pregnancy unavoidable.

The medicines used may sometimes cause hormonal disorders. These disorders often make it nearly impossible for the woman to conceive again. Even if she does, her body does not support it. Also the probability of still-births increases multi-fold.

These are just the physical effects. Each time a child is aborted, the mother suffers from severe stress and trauma. The shock of losing a child cripples her psychologically. In severe cases, she may lapse into depression and withdraw from the society in general.

Sometimes extra-mural delivery of the foetus can occur in the interval between administration of feticide and initiation of a medical or surgical abortion. Although signs of life are avoided this is distressing and, in the case of a planned procedure, not the desired outcome.

Potential complications include injection site pain, amnionitis, or sepsis. Digoxin is associated with vomiting as a common side effect. Case reports of maternal cardiac arrest have also been reported following potassium chloride injection.

The effects do not end at the hospital.

Social effects:

In India, the minority is usually oppressed, suppressed and depressed. The story of women, the minority here, is no different. Life for girls is a never ending battle.

The falling number of girls (consequently women) has resulted in an increased number of crimes against women. Stories of sexual harassment, molestation and rape have become common. Incidents of eve-teasing are common place.

Women are given a low status in society, their role often limited to the kitchen and the bed. Mind you, there can be a thousand exceptions to this statement but it is the general story. Their own family members torture them no end. Domestic violence and abuse has seen a significant rise. The number of reported cases is, however, much less than the actual number.

Till a few years back, thinkers would think about the fate of man when there will be no women left to marry. I’d often thought that it would increase the value of females in the eyes of society somehow…like we realize the worth of things only when we lose them. But no, it just resulted in a worse situation for women.

Young girls from states like Bihar, Jharkhand and UP are bought at cheap prices for the prospective grooms. Their family is paid money anywhere between INR 10,000-15,000 (The average cost of a cow is 1000 times the milk she gives per day, which is around 25 liters, making the cost around INR 25,000. That is more expensive than a girl.). These women get none of the honour, love or comforts they deserve after marriage. They are often treated like filth.

Like I said…sometimes the connection is such, we fail to perceive it.

What are the solutions? Is there a way out of it? Can we do anything at all to curb this menace?

One of my teachers suggested a policy of fines and rewards when I asked him the same questions. In his world, we should fine the culprits and reward the informers. But is it really possible for such a function to exist without problems? Can it be enforced?

The existing laws need to be strengthened. The clause in the constitution which allows abortion of a frequency for medical reasons should be amended suitably, the penalties be made unbending and unforgiving.

Women should be educated about their rights and those of their daughters. Families need to be sensitized to this issue. The mass media can play a major role here. A village man may not know his consonants from the vowels…but there will definitely be a radio, a television somewhere in his vicinity.

Young people can volunteer to spread the message far and wide. Talks and seminars can be organized to generate awareness. The government should come forth with more schemes like the ‘ladli yojana’.

The change, when it comes, has to come from within. Our eternal hope, our unending prayers and our unshakeable faith will, one day, let her be born…J

P.S. My sister gave birth to a lovely daughter on the 29th day of May, 2012…her smiling face is my ray of hope…J

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