Cradle baby scheme in India cuts female infanticide
Critics don't like the scheme, but few ready alternatives are available.
A response to widespread infanticide in India is gaining acceptance as an alternative to the socially-accepted murder of baby girls.
Girls are much less favored than boys because girls marry with a dowry paid by the parents. Often poor, families in the countryside cannot afford to pay these dowries, so they often see girls as a liability. Although they often keep firstborn girls, subsequent female children are much more likely to be killed.
Common forms of infanticide include exposure in garbage pits and poisoning as well as other cruel forms, such as where parents simply denied treatment for basic illnesses to their young, growing girls. And although it is illegal or parents to get ultrasounds and sex-selective abortions, the practice remains widespread for those who can afford it.
Enter the humanitarians, who since the early 1990s have operated an increasing number of orphanages dedicated to unwanted female babies. Known as "cradle babies" parents are turning to a new practice in place of murder.
At social centers and hospitals across the Southern India, where infanticide is most common, empty cradles are made available. Unhappy parents can simply place their babies in the cradle, a form of safe surrender.
These girls are then sent to orphanages where they are later adopted out. Children with disabilities are often sent to state-run homes for long-term care.
Many infertile couples turn to the orphanages to find children.
However, the practice of infanticide continuities in rural communities. Local communities support the practice which has a long tradition, so it is rarely prosecuted. Many baby girls simply go missing.
The problem is so significant that there are 916 girls per 1,000 boys in India. This number is an improvement from an all-time low of 849 just 20 years ago, before the cradle babies scheme was launched.
Now, the government is looking at providing extra financial support to poor families that have girls.
Critics of the cradle baby scheme say it shifts responsibility of the children to the state and that it does nothing to reverse the practice of abandonment. They are right, however without better education, support, and legal enforcement of the law, it may be the only option many baby girls have versus death.
A birth foretold: click here to learn more!
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Asia Pacific News
- UN report on food an agriculture holds dire warning for the world
- Disintegrated - in mid-air? Missing Malaysian plane mystery deepens
- Top Malaysia court delays ruling on use of 'Allah'
- Filipino Cardinal blasts Catholics for hypocrisy
- Chinese train massacre carried out by Islamist gang on 'Holy War' spree
- Pakistan feeling wages of sin; Drug addiction, AIDS rife is South Asian nation
- Indian economy slows in most recent quarter
- While Cambodia's poverty rate drops, many still struggle to survive
- Slavery scandal involving teenage girls shocks Indian Tea Company
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?