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‘All Those Little Faces’: Elizabeth Vargas Explores India’s ‘Gendercide’

December 10, 2011

By Elizabeth Vargas

Six months ago, I traveled to India to see firsthand what the prime minister of that country calls a national shame. It is the systematic, widespread, shocking elimination of India’s baby girls. Some 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month in India. Baby girls are often killed at birth, either thrown into rivers, or left to die in garbage dumps. Its estimated that one million girls in India “disappear” every year.

I traveled first to Delhi, where I met a woman who is a member of the privileged, educated class. Her name is Mitu and she is a pediatrician, married to a doctor. When she became pregnant, she said her husband’s family pressured her to have an illegal ultrasound to see if her twins were girls or boys.

There are clinics everywhere in India, offering ultrasounds. We walked down street after street and saw signs everywhere advertising ultrasound services. There are even technicians who pack portable ultrasounds and travel to villages offering their services. The dirty little secret is that many couples use the ultrasound to find out the sex of their baby. If they find it’s a girl, hundreds of thousands of mothers-to-be abort the fetus. 50,000 girl fetuses are aborted every month in India. It is a staggering number. And it has created whole villages where there are hardly any women. We went to one such village in the province of Haryana. Everywhere we looked, we saw boys, young men, old men, but very, very few women. It was unsettling, especially because we knew this was not some freak of nature, but a result of the deliberate extermination of girls.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carrie permalink
    December 14, 2011 10:41 pm

    I must say that it is sad to think of. So many babies loosing their lives before they even start, all over the world. I am glad to hear of the mother of twins keeping and fighting for her daughters. I pray blessings from God on her and their lives. Thank you for speaking out and bringing awareness…

  2. Mary Scyz permalink
    December 18, 2011 6:32 am

    This behavior by the Indian Culture is dispicable. First they force little girls to marry grown men, who rape them and then they kill the infants too. The prime minister of health has such a calvileer attitude toward enforcing the laws to prevent this murder. Makes me sick. It’s like you can tell he doesn’t really care. I really hate the dowry practice, which is responsible for all of this. They should make the men pay taxes to be allowed to be eligible to be a husband instead and use the money to fund education.

  3. December 21, 2011 5:57 am

    I am absolutely aghast at what your family did to you, but I must say I am amazed at your strenght and courage.

    May the light always shine on you and your beautiful daughters!

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