Everyone makes choices, some of them good and some of them bad. Some choices fall into one or the other of those categories depending on your perspective.
Some of our bad choices are made because of circumstances, where we are, when and with whom; and might even have something to do with our current state of inebriation. Face it, alcohol and drugs often lead to bad choices. And some choices are made on a purely economic basis: I can’t afford that new computer because the rent is due (good choice). Or maybe I shouldn’t have bought that new barbecue grill- now I have no money to pay the electric bill (bad choice).
But women in south Asia are continually being ask to make a choice when it comes to being pregnant. In a culture which says that sons are important, more and more women are testing to determine the gender of an unborn baby, and then making ‘reproductive rights decisions” accordingly. That sounds so genteel doesn’t it? But the harsh reality is that some statistics provided by Gospel for Asia indicate that Gender-Selective Infanticide is happening in parts of Asia today. According to GFA’s numbers over 50,000 abortions occur each month because the unborn child is a girl.
On so many levels that is a bad choice. For one thing how long does it take before the birth rate drops dramatically? Before the male/female ration has reached a dangerous place where there are not enough women of child-bearing age to maintain the population. Then there’s the question of abortion in general.
But for some of these women, aborting female fetuses seems like a good choice: both short and long term. In the short term the woman doesn’t have another mouth to feed; a mouth that will not grow up to work in the fields and later take care of aging parents. And in the long term, the choice is made for the girl herself: knowing the future that awaits still another woman from the Dalit class, it’s almost a blessing to protect her from the indignities and abuses that await.
But there is hope. Millions of Asian women see their future as hopeless. Hunger, abuse, rape, struggling to care for their children are their daily realities. They face a lifetime of adversity in the face of a culture which is stacked against the. But thanks to agencies like Gospel for Asia, there is hope. As the Gospel of Jesus is being shared, GFA workers are also supporting these women in tangible means. Churches are being planted, and they are involved with education, with providing sewing machines then teaching women to sew so they can make a living.
A heart-wrenching movie, “Behind the Veil of Tears” shows what living conditions are like, and also the hope that is being provided. A behind-the-scenes clip is available here You can also order a copy of the movie to show at your church.