On Female Infanticide – Two Case Studies from India and China

Adam Jones

Please Read This Article With Prayer!

As Christopher Price rightly points out, “To Christians, the infant had value. Whereas pagans placed no value on infant life, Christians treated them as human beings. They viewed infanticide as the murder of a human being, not a convenient tool to rid society of excess females and perceived weaklings. The baby, whether male, female, perfect, or imperfect, was created in the image of God and therefore had value” (http://www.christiancadre.org/member_contrib/cp_infanticide.html).

Please read the following case studies on female infanticide with much prayer so that the light of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will be clearly seen as the answer to remove these terrible acts of female infanticide around the world. Those under missionary training and those who train the future missionaries need to help eradicate this practice wherever they are called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The case studies presented here are reproduced from http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html.

Tim Freeman and M. S. Thirumalai

Case Study: Female Infanticide

Researched and Written by Adam Jones

(1) India
(2) China


The phenomenon of female infanticide is as old as many cultures, and has likely accounted for millions of gender-selective deaths throughout history. It remains a critical concern in a number of “Third World” countries today, notably the two most populous countries on earth, China and India. In all cases, specifically female infanticide reflects the low status accorded to women in most parts of the world; it is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of the anti-female bias that pervades “patriarchal” societies. It is closely linked to the phenomena of sex-selective abortion, which targets female fetuses almost exclusively, and neglect of girl children.

The background

“Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.” (Marina Porras, “Female Infanticide and Foeticide”.) It should be seen as a subset of the broader phenomenon of infanticide, which has also targeted the physically or mentally handicapped, and infant males (alongside infant females or, occasionally, on a gender-selective basis). As with maternal mortality, some would dispute the assigning of infanticide or female infanticide to the category of “genocide” or, as here, “gendercide.” Nonetheless, the argument advanced in the maternal mortality case-study holds true in this case as well: governments and other actors can be just as guilty of mass killing by neglect or tacit encouragement, as by direct murder. R.J. Rummel buttresses this view, referring to infanticide as

another type of government killing whose victims may total millions … In many cultures, government permitted, if not encouraged, the killing of handicapped or female infants or otherwise unwanted children. In the Greece of 200 B.C., for example, the murder of female infants was so common that among 6,000 families living in Delphi no more than 1 percent had two daughters. Among 79 families, nearly as many had one child as two. Among all there were only 28 daughters to 118 sons. … But classical Greece was not unusual. In eighty-four societies spanning the Renaissance to our time, “defective” children have been killed in one-third of them. In India, for example, because of Hindu beliefs and the rigid caste system, young girls were murdered as a matter of course. When demographic statistics were first collected in the nineteenth century, it was discovered that in “some villages, no girl babies were found at all; in a total of thirty others, there were 343 boys to 54 girls. … [I]n Bombay, the number of girls alive in 1834 was 603.”

Rummel adds: “Instances of infanticide … are usually singular events; they do not happen en masse. But the accumulation of such officially sanctioned or demanded murders comprises, in effect, serial massacre. Since such practices were so pervasive in some cultures, I suspect that the death toll from infanticide must exceed that from mass sacrifice and perhaps even outright mass murder.” (Rummel, Death by Government, pp. 65-66.)


Researched and written by Adam Jones.
© Gendercide Watch 1999-2000. All rights reserved.
Copyright-cleared for educational and other non-profit use if source is credited.

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Tim Freeman
Bethany International

M. S. Thirumalai
Bethany International