Washington: Promotion of sex-selection abortions as a population control strategy, crafted in the US and then exported worldwide, has resulted in millions of missing girls in India, China and elsewhere, a Congressional human rights panel has been told.
“It was development professionals who first promoted sex-selective abortion as a potential solution to what they saw as the population explosion,” Matthew Connelly, Professor at the Columbia University and author of ‘Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population’ told a Congressional hearing on Tuesday.
Testifying before Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that Planned Parenthood’s head of research Steven Polgar was the biologists who found a method for sex-determination in utero.
Likewise Bernard Berelson, then president of the US Population Council, put forward in a 1969 article how sex selection coupled with abortion was a relatively “ethical” means to control population should it ever be necessary to go “beyond” voluntary methods of family planning.
Connelly testified how the Population Council also sent the head of its biomedical division, Sheldon Segal, to New Delhi to instruct Indian doctors how to determine the sex of the unborn child while publically advocating sex-selection as means to control population.
He shed light on the policy decisions made by non-governmental organisations such as Planned Parenthood and the Population Council, funded by foundations such as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and their impact on the present crisis in India and other countries such as China. A similar argument was made by Mara Hvistendahl, a correspondent and contributing editor with Science Magazine, in her testimony.
“By August 1969, when the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Population Council convened another workshop on population control, sex selection had become a pet scheme,” Hvistendahl said.
Congressman Chris Smith, who chaired the House foreign affairs human rights committee hearing on “India’s Missing Girls” said, sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have led to lopsided sex ratios.
In parts of India, for example, 126 boys are born for every 100 girls.
“This in turn leads to a shortage of women, which then leads to trafficking in persons, bride selling and prostitution.
Perhaps the best figures we have concerning the magnitude of the problem come from India’s 2011 census figures, which found that there are approximately 37 million more men than women in India,” he said while expressing concern over the matter. (PTI)