For many, the news of a newborn girl is met with gifts and pink showers of celebration. But in some places in the world—especially in areas like China and India— the prospect of a baby girl is met with fear, abandonment and, ultimately, their disposal. On Saturday, Feb. 16, Regent University's School of Law hosted five distinguished speakers during the Endangered Gender symposium. The panel explored the impact gendercide has had on the global male to female ratio.
The symposium was sponsored by the Regent Journal of Law & Public Policy and the Regent Journal of International Law. According to Regent Law professor Lynne Marie Kohm, who served as moderator for the panel, 160 million female children are "missing" from the world as a result of gendercide. She said that sex-selective abortion is an issue that will need to be acknowledged by future litigators, and its solutions pursued by "9-1-1 global rescuers."
United States Congressman Trent Franks (pictured) said that the genesis of these destructive issues lies in being distanced from the truth. Franks reminded the audience of the Civil War, when the United States' own history reflected discrimination of race.
"We're never quite so eloquent when we're commenting on crimes of the past," said Franks. "And we're never so blind when we don't decry gendercide today."
The endangered gender issue has become important to the Arizonan congressman in his pursuits of passing the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). This act would outlaw abortions based on gender or race in the United States.
Franks argued that gendercide was not something that the nation's founding fathers had in mind when they proclaimed that "all men are created equal." He said that eliminating sex-selective abortions goes hand in hand with the Biblical calling to "do unto others," and that the lives of all men and women are transcendent.
"We need to dedicate our heart and purpose to this," said Franks. "Because I don't know how we'll serve Jesus any other way."
David M. Smolin, director of the Center for Children and Ethics and professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, said that gender-selective abortions are the result of China's one-child policy, and stem from the social importance of having male children to carry the family's lineage.
"Families in China want a daughter, but need a son," said Smolin. "But if you eliminate mothers, this will have an effect on population in a profound way."
Steven Mosher, like Smolin, shared an acute concern of the germinating issues of the Chinese population. As president of the Population Institute, Mosher offered his internationally-acknowledged research and expert knowledge of China's population issues. He explained that one of the biggest sources of sex-selective abortions stems mainly from how readily-available and precise ultrasound technology has become.
"The desire to have perfect children will contribute to sex-selection in the future," said Mosher. "This is a problem that will not get better; it will get much, much worse."
Like China, India holds bearing male children in the same heightened esteem. Dr. Ana Aspras Steele, the president of Dalit Freedom Network USA, spoke on the favor of male children in India. Even being pregnant with a female child is cause enough for the perpetual violence and abuse of some women in the nation, according to Steele.
"India is the most dangerous—and deadliest—place on earth to be a girl," said Steele. "There needs to be a cultural recreation to raise the value of the female in India."
Dr. Prakash Tyagi, the executive director of GRAVIS, a center that provides training and aid for those living in the Thar Desert communities in the state of Rajasthan, also spoke on behalf of India. He claimed that there is simply a lack of joy in raising a little girl in his country. As a father of two young girls, Tyagi expressed how personal the issue is to him and his wife.
"Our daughters are our sons, and they can do everything that boys can do," said Tyagi. "And one day they'll have to do their part to make sure people know that."