Reproductive Rights of Women More Important than Right of Undelivered Humans to Live?

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Government’s decision to extend the abortion right till the foetal age of six months needs total condemnation

Dr Javed Jamil | Caravan Daily

THE UNION GOVERNMENT that seems to be overly concerned about the rights of “religiously persecuted” minorities in some neighbouring countries is not at all concerned about the rights of pure Indian children to be born.

The cabinet has given approval to extending the abortion right till the foetal age of six months. And this right to kill one’s own children is being done in the name of “reproductive rights” of women. What a travesty of morality in this world where “commercial morality” has taken precedence over every other morality!

Life is being destroyed because it suits the markets of human susceptibilities. Hospitals, gynaecologists, abortion clinics and of course the markets of beauty, sex and  — all must be rejoicing. And a still bigger irony is that this is being done by the government of a party that is not tired of displaying its faith in its religion of choice, Hinduism.

The truth is, any religion and anybody who values life and abhors killings at any age cannot approve the killing of human fetuses just because these poor fetuses are in no position to organise protests.

COMMERCIALIZATION OF SEX

The most dangerous manifestation of economic fundamentalism, in terms of its impact on health as well as social peace, is the growing commercialization of human susceptibilities, particularly sex. Though the devastation caused by the commercialization of sex and beauty has tormented the society, the most appalling is the case of children. They do not possess the voice that can be heard beyond the walls of their houses or the placenta of their mothers. They do only have yells that get buried within the din inside.

Children are not physically capable of organising and wrestling with the establishment for their rights. Neither have they representation in Parliament and assemblies; nor in the media. Their fate is entirely at the mercy of others. They are therefore more likely to be killed, neglected and assaulted than anyone else.

The most vulnerable of course are the children in the wombs whose voice, if any, cannot go beyond the skins of their mothers.

The new sexual morality espoused and promoted by the big business, especially the global merchants of sex, annihilated all the barricades in the way of free sex. Marriage or any other formality, age, gender, place, time and previous relation — all paled into insignificance for the purpose of a sexual encounter. The only restriction that the legal framework put, albeit without making it an effective in practice, was the consent of the two individuals seeking sex.

If both agree, nothing can stop a couple. They would be advised however to take precautions as far as possible not to let their ecstatic love drift to an unwanted fruition. This can devastate their own career, they would be told, and also the country’s economy. Never mind, though. If a woman conceives despite the precautions, she need not worry. The state is there to provide whatever she needs for a safe abortion: legal permission, social protection and free services. Private clinics, in their own way, are looking to provide the best.

With abortion begins the sad story of children being killed and abused for none of their faults. An estimated number of about 50-70 million of children are forced to perish before their birth every year. Staggering figures, by all accounts! Figures that must put the whole mankind to shame and must jolt from head to toe every person with conscience. But where is the mankind and where is the conscience? What we know of the mankind today is a kingdom of human beasts seeking pleasure and nothing but the pleasure, whatever the consequences.

This is not just the pleasure of the whole mankind at the cost of other creatures. It is for the gratification of the strong among human beings who have mastered the science of eradicating all that can directly or indirectly become impediments in their stupendous march towards an unstoppable fun and entertainment. What then if, for this majestic plan, a few millions of partially formed human fleshes are to be discarded every month! They are of course just the humans-in-the-making, not humans. They are the weakest obstacles as well.  

Flowers must be protected, proponents of abortion seem to argue, but there is no plausible reason why tears should be shed if buds are nipped to “save” the mankind from “undesirable consequences”.

Big movements are organised against the killing of animals and the extinction of rare species, against the uprooting of plants and deforestation, and also against the destruction of historical monuments and sites. These are not humans but still have the backing and support of one or the other elements of power.

A notable global campaign on the other hand against the unceremonious killing of millions of humans-in-the-making cannot be allowed to gather momentum.

The cronies of the Big Business are always there, fully armed with the arsenals of “sophisticated” logic and money to thwart any such step. Still, we are made to believe that we are living in a civilized world that cares for human rights. Ironically, those who shout at the top of their voice for protection of human rights happen to be those who silently preside over most of these killings. The only voices audible in the all-pervading eerie silence are of those that are concerned merely and specifically with the killing of female foetuses, as if the killing of a male foetus is justifiable, but not that of a female.

Ironically, female foeticide, not feticide in general, is regarded a genuine issue at the global level. It is agonisingly but amazingly true that an abortion not based on gender discrimination is normally not even labelled foeticide. To join the fray against female foeticide is considered a noble cause on account of it being a part of the global movement against the gender-discrimination. But criminal silence on the abortion of male children is no discrimination in their eyes on the similar ground.

I do not purport to say that the sordid practice of female foeticide does not invite the concern it does. Female foeticide is outrageously abominable, and must be condemned in the strongest possible words. In India, the problem has become so acute that in some states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana, it has already disturbed the male-female ratio in the population. It has gone down to as low as 650 women per 1,000 men in some areas.  

DEMOGRAPHIC CATASTROPHE

A demographic catastrophe of its own kind is staring at the nation’s policymakers. Such has been the traditional revulsion towards a girl child, especially among the Hindus — in which community dowry still remains a major issue — that the news of the birth of a girl is often welcomed with gloom on the faces of the family members. With ever-increasing consciousness towards small family norms, it becomes even more compelling for the couples to get the sex of their babies determined early in the pregnancy. If a couple already has a girl, it is more likely to opt for abortion; in case the test proves the foetus to be a female. According to reports, out of the foetuses that are aborted in India after sex determination, around 99 per cent are females. This is absolutely unacceptable.

What I want to emphasize however is that abortion on any non-medical ground with few exceptions like when pregnancy is the result of a rape must be unacceptable. If a hue and cry is raised against female foeticide while abortion as such is accepted, it is largely because of the clashes of interests. Female foeticide is no product of globalisation and is of no assistance to global business. This can in fact be jeopardous, as it can lead to less availability of females for scores of businesses that need them. Every possible effort must therefore be made to stop this.

Abortion as a whole, on the other hand, helps their cause because it helps young women overcome a big hurdle in their work and it helps in stabilising the population.

Right to live, which is used assiduously as the bullet to shoot the protagonists of death sentence, has been conveniently forgotten when it comes to the issue of abortion. What can be a more colossal, yet a notorious tragedy, than the fact that parents are being made to be a party in the cold-blooded murder of their own children? Still greater is the tragedy that parents hardly feel any compunction or remorse over their role.

Even mothers have been reconditioned to believe that it would be a greater sin to bring their kids out of their wombs if they are not in a position to look after them, than to finish them off in the wombs. In the process, the most innocent of human beings are slaughtered without tears falling anywhere for them and without anyone caring to perform obsequies for them. The ghastliness of this crime is unparalleled. No other crime can be anywhere near it in terms of cruelty and severity.

If God had decided to punish the crime of abortion in the world itself, He would have perhaps doomed the whole earth without delay. I remember a woman coming to a doctor colleague of mine to seek abortion. He politely asked her: “What’s the hurry, lady? Let your child come out of your belly. It will then be easier for you to strangulate it.” The woman walked off in tears.

But who would tell this to every woman who attends a clinic for abortion? The interests of so many are at stake: those of the big business in general, particularly sex trade, hospitals and doctors, to name a few. Why should they unnecessarily bring morality into picture?  

MORALITY, NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

Morality, in their view, is a needle in a haystack; it is futile to attempt a search for it. And when it also helps the common people to overcome the unwanted adverse effects of their desire to stroll freely without chains of morality, why should they raise their voice against it even if in their minds and hearts they do not feel particularly comfortable about it?

What a way to live the life! Immorality heaped on immorality! To get away with one immoral act, take the help of another more immoral act! Moreover, if there is a danger of the people becoming unduly distressed on account of their immoralities, change the definition of immorality! So that moralities become immoralities and immoralities become moralities.

GOSNELL’S TRIAL IN THE US

I quote here a report appearing in an American website about the horrendous nature of the enormity and brutality of abortions:

“Evidence of this is found in the recent conviction of Mr. Kermit Gosnell (who masquerades as a physician) for the first degree murder of three babies who survived his failed abortion attempts. The gruesome details of Gosnell’s abortion clinic, which he operated for years without government inspection, have shocked the conscience of a nation. Even many of those who proclaim to be pro-choice are now openly expressing doubts about the morality of abortion.

“The grisly evidence presented at Gosnell’s trial included details about babies born alive during the abortion procedure and subsequently killed by the snipping of their spines. Testimony from clinic workers included heartbreaking stories of babies surviving the brutal abortion assault and crying for help only to be viciously killed. Evidence included details of remains of infants aborted (and even tiny severed feet of infants) kept in refrigerators for storage. Gosnell was convicted of the first degree murder of three infants born alive, but the evidence showed that hundreds of such killings had occurred over the years at Gosnell’s bloody house of horrors.

“Pro-choice proponents of abortion, led by Planned Parenthood, have been quick to claim that Gosnell’s practices are the exception and not the rule as to how abortion clinics operate around the nation. However, further evidence coming from around the nation indicates that such claims are not well-founded. Indeed, it is becoming more apparent that Gosnell’s operations are the rule for abortion providers — not the exception……

“It certainly does appear that there are many more Gosnells operating across the nation, and, of course, the public should express outrage at such atrocities occurring under the ruse of a so-called constitutional right of privacy. However, the deeper question that must be faced by our fellow countrymen is the legitimacy of abortion on demand itself.

“We must ask — what moral difference is there between snipping the spine of a baby born alive from a failed abortion procedure and killing her, and snipping the spine of a baby still in the womb and killing her? The first is now recognized as first degree murder.

“The second is what some refer to as “safe and legal” abortion. Since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade decriminalized the pro-life protective abortion laws of all fifty states there have been 55 million legal abortions. Abortion takes the lives of 1.3 million unborn children a year, 3,000 per day, and one every 25 seconds. Unless she turns away from these acts of brutality America seems to be bent on committing demographic suicide killing millions of its future leaders, citizens and tax-payers.

“Abortion is not an issue of liberals versus conservatives; of Democrats versus Republicans; of those of religious faith versus those who do not believe. Neither is it an issue of women’s rights. (Consider that at least half of the abortions have killed little girls. What become of the rights of these little women?) Rather, it is an issue of humanity versus barbarianism. It is an issue of right versus wrong. It is an issue of life versus death. 

“Political ideology should be irrelevant to this great issue of morality that now assaults the conscience of a nation. Clearly, the way America chooses to handle this issue in the next few years will undoubtedly determine the future of the nation.”

The day is not far when similar stories of babies being brutally pulled out of wombs and killed will be common in India. But the media will not have the eyes to see this and the politicians will not have the tongue to speak against it. There will be no protests anywhere, no PILs will be filed; and even if filed, the judges have already been reconditioned their minds in ways as to think like the forces of markets and politics want them to think.

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Dr Javed Jamil is an eminent Islamic scholar and author.

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