Friday, June 17, 2011

Saving baby girls

“There is not love where there is no will.” — Indira Gandhi, fourth Prime Minister of India 

IF YOU'VE read Hey Look more than a few times, you know I've passed along articles about the killing of baby girls in India, Pakistan and many African countries. I have been wondering why governments trying to stop the practice of sex-selective abortion don't provide financial incentives to mothers who have and raise girls.

Apparently, such an idea is being tried in India with uncertain results, although it sounds as though the effort is being administered so poorly that it's hard to judge how efficacious a program of this nature could be if it were well managed and properly tracked. Here's an article from the June 8, 2011 Christian Science Monitor.

India tries cash incentives to save its girls
By Ben Arnoldy
June 8. 2011

MULLAHERA, India — Not long ago, Mullahera, a village on what was then the outskirts of New Delhi, was the kind of place where families wanted a boy. Their reasoning was simple: A boy could inherit farmland, work the fields, and provide space in his future home for elderly parents.

But in January, local officials came to Mullahera – now nestled alongside the glass towers of the ever-expanding city – to present residents with a significant gift: a check for 100,000 rupees, or $2,200, for producing more girl than boy births.

With selective abortion of girls in India worse than ever, the state of Haryana – which has one of the worst birth ratios – has started to reward the village in each district that is defying the odds. Haryana is not the only state trying such a tactic. 

The federal and state governments in India are testing cash incentives to encourage pregnant women to not screen for gender and abort their girls – a problem that grows with wealth and access to ultrasound technology. But while the programs offer stories of progress, activists say they distract from serious crackdowns on illegal gender testing.

Click here to read the entire Christian Science Monitor article. 

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