Are Sex-Selected Abortions a Problem Among India’s Christians?
Population: Over 1.3 billion
Christian percentage: 2.2
Dominant religion: Hinduism
Who will stand by you no matter what? It’s your mother, isn’t it? Even in the animal kingdom, a mother will do anything to protect and nurture her young. This is one of the many reasons why abortion is so evil. In India, a mother can be forced to abort a baby girl. There are both social and economic reasons why they do this. Boys are considered a family “investment” while girls are an “expenditure.” As they grow up, girls remain at home while boys earn money outside the home for their parents. Sons continue to do this even after they marry. A bride joins her husband’s family where she does domestic chores, but she is far from welcome by his parents who view her as one more mouth to feed.
To make matters far worse, families must pay a nearly unaffordable dowry for each daughter’s wedding. Families with sons receive the dowry. Though dowries are illegal in India, they are widely practiced, regardless of the religious community. Girls and women are taken for granted, though they provide essential work at home, and they usually care for elderly parents.
In India, there was a plague of sex-selected abortions after they introduced ultrasound equipment in the mid-1980s. Fortunately, this pattern is waning, especially in the 21st century. Yet it continues.
A February 2023 article in Christianity Today raises the alarming question: Are Christians also aborting female babies? Some Christian leaders believe they are. Like members of all religious communities in India, Christians want their family name to continue, and they want to thrive economically. The Gilgal Mission Trust works mainly in Tamil Nadu, a state with a much higher Christian percentage than the national average. Their spokesman told Christianity Today that Christian families demand that women produce at least one son. This ministry counsels not only the couple, but also the husband’s parents. His mother commonly pressures her daughter-in-law to produce a son. A woman has no way of determining what gender her child will be, so they pressure her regarding things beyond her control.
Raaj Mondol is an advocate for the girl child. He believes Christians in India are too willing to conform to the prevailing culture instead of being salt and light. It is not enough to have spiritual disciplines like fasting, praying, and reading the Bible. Christians also need to be discipled in how to live out a Christian life in every way. That includes seeing the worth of all people, especially girls and women. Perhaps he’s right; the number of sex-selected abortions is going down among all religious communities, including Christians. If Christians were living according to the teachings of Christ, they would have led by example long ago.
India Prefers Baby Boys. Are Its Christians Any Different? Christianity Today. February 22, 2023
Sex-selective abortion in India: an ongoing problem. Niussp.org. August 29, 2022