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It’s Horrifying That Those Coming To My Primary Health Care Clinic Speak So Casually Of Killing A Girl Child…

Let’s imagine a play – the title of this drama could be: Who kills the daughters??

Date and time: A beautiful morning of spring season.
Venue: A primary care OPD in a remote village of Gujarat
Cast: Primary health care doctor and a 20-year young migrant woman.
Background: A woman comes to OPD with her baby girl for a urine pregnancy test as she is 20 days late in her periods. A doctor prescribes urine test and she come back with report. (Camera, Light, Action…)

Woman: Madam, my report has come.

Doctor (After seeing her report): Bahen, how many children do you have? (With the despair in her eyes as she has to ask such a question to a 20-year-old girl.)

Woman: I have two girls. But tell me what is the report?

Doctor (With a little anger in voice): Then why again? Aren’t you fed up with two children?

Woman: Madam, I have only girls. Ek ladka to chahiye na. (At least one child should be boy.)

Doctor: Now let me tell you that you are pregnant. What if this child will be ‘a girl’?

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Woman (instantly): Wo to check up karayenge na! (So I will go for check-up!) I already have two caesarians.

Doctor (Feeling aghast): What if you find it a girl child?

Woman (without a slightest hesitation in voice): Then I will go for abortion, what else.

Doctor (Now is furious): What are you talking about? It’s a crime. Do you even think before you speak?

Woman: I don’t have an option madam.

Doctor (Now losing patience): I am calling police. This is criminal. (Picks up phone to make a call.)

Woman (now having some idea about what she has said, suddenly changing tone): No no madam. Do not do that. I am sorry. I was just joking.

(The baby girl with the woman senses some tension and starts crying, woman is now pleading, and the doctor still is trying to come out from shock.)

Doctor (angrily): Please don’t come back to me for follow up. Now get out.

The end!

This is my daily reality as a doctor

No. I am not writing a screenplay for any Anurag Kashyap movie, neither have I earned that much as a doctor to produce one! This happened exactly as portrayed.

The doctor in this drama is me. Readers, feel free to judge the doctor for her antagonistic overreaction. But I have reasons.

First, that the young woman said what she did, and second, she said it very casually, without even thinking of all the consequences of her statements and actions if she would have done something like that.

Sex determination and selective abortion is such a routine in the community she comes from, and hence even a mere 20 year old like her knows about it, and very much OK with it. For her, not doing this is something unusual, and she even has not much choice in the matter.

Sex selection and selective abortion is almost endemic here

This small conversation shows the enormity of the issue which no statistics of any sting operation can really bring out. I have come across a patient who went for 11 abortions willingly as she wanted a male child. In one of the seemingly good families, a woman herself asks a family doctor about sex of her second child, and the doctor attending her had to give some illegal references knowing her family situation. Now you can understand my reason of overreaction.

When I run ANC (anti natal care) clinic, I never see a willing family planning an operation after one or two girls. Most of the cases I see are where they are continuing giving birth to girls in the hope of a boy. Constantly working for such people have made me somewhat apathetic, but the comfort with which these people talk about killing a girl foetus or mourning over having a girl child still sends a chill down my spine.

On one hand we are celebrating Women’s Days, and praying to goddesses. On other hand most of us do not even want a girl child. Why? Just because we are so selfish as a society.

Daughters are to be married off and given away, so they are useless. Boys are the assets which can bring us dowry and a free maid for old age, so we must have at least one.

And No, I do not have a solution to this problem; it is just beyond my thinking.

Published here first.

Image source: shutterstock

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