Government interference in the personal lives of people is nothing remarkable or new for India. After all, Indians endured British colonial rule until 1947 and following that, socialist governments took over which continued to enforce the rules inherited from the colonial period. So the denial of reproductive rights to women in India should not come as a surprise. This, however, is a particularly heartless move. It condemns too many girls to lives of great misery and to some to a death penalty for the crime of being born a girl.
Parental rights, one assumes, includes the freedom to decide when and how many children to have, and if possible, the freedom to choose the sex of their children. Forcing people to have children of an undesired sex is an infringement of those rights. The parents have the responsibility of bringing up their children, not the government. It can be argued that a skewed sex-ratio is not good for society. The question then is which of the two â€“ forcing people to go through with unwanted pregnancies or a skewed sex-ratio â€“ is less harmful to society. The answer to that is not a foregone conclusion.
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By restricting information which may be useful for parents to make an informed choice whether or not to have a female child, the government is sacrificing the right of a child to a decent life in order to protect the â€śrightsâ€ť of a fetus. If people cannot avoid having girls that they do not want, they will be forced to have more children to reach their desired number of sons, and to ration their resources to the detriment of girls. Rational responses to economic circumstancesâ€”povertyâ€”cannot be averted by government mandate. Indeed it can be argued that the prevailing poverty itself has much to do with government mandates.
In the end, in the contest between the people and the government, the drive for freedom proves to be stronger and eventually overcomes the forces that seek to limit freedom. The government will fail in this case as wellâ€”as it must for the sake of the girls.