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article imageOp-Ed: Court forces Google and Microsoft to ban pre-birth gender tests

By Tim Sandle     Jul 8, 2016 in Lifestyle
The highest court in India has taken drastic action to stop big tech companies from allowing adverts for pre-birth gender tests to be shown to Indian Internet users.
Female feticide has been a problem in India for those families who desire only sons. Such is the extent of this horrific practice that the destruction or abortion of a fetus because it may be female has been outlawed. Given the sensitivity over this, and the supporting view by most moral and ethical people, it seems somewhat bizarre that tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! allow adverts for pre-birth gender tests to be shown to Indian Internet users.
It is even stranger that, with the issue having been raised, it has taken legal action to force these U.S. based corporations to stop the adverts from being shown. Why would the companies not simply block or refuse such advertising once they became away of its existence in a country where the kits could be used for abortion related practices?
Back in 2010, the journal Issue Law Medicine, undertook research which revealed: "Female feticide...is killing upwards of one million females in India annually with far-ranging and tragic consequences." At this time female feticide was both practical and socially acceptable in India. One of the key motivations was 'economic', based on the idea (real or mythical) that sons offer longer-term security to their families. There is also the issue of the dowry, an anachronistic practice common in much of Indian culture, where the a sum needs to be paid by the parents of a daughter to the parents of the male child.
Although court action has reduced this, the practice still continues at a high level (according to a recent report of a case by CBS News.) The continuation is not helped by adverts for pre-birth gender test kits. For this reason, the Indian supreme court has stepped in to warn behemoths like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft against hosting adverts that violate the country’s ban on prenatal gender testing and sex selective abortion.
In a statement, the judge, Justice Mishra, did not moderate his language, calling the adverts a "social evil," and saying to the big three tech firms: "You can’t say that you are not technically equipped. If you say you are, get out of the market."
Disturbing, there appears to be no statements or words of apology from the three technology companies. As to why this is, Gordon John DeLonay (@JohndeLaunais) tweeted: "Ladies, FEMALE FETICIDE: Still OFFERED as an OPTION much less Solution. For PROFIT?", inferring that the advertising residue overrode ethics.
Although the practice appears barbaric it can happen anywhere in the world. In 2014, for instance, a 33-year-old woman from Indiana (U.S.), was charged with the feticide and fetal murder of her unborn child.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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