ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Use of 'Foeticide'

We write to express our surprise, indeed dismay, at the use of the word foeticide in your editorial "Life-giving Leadership" (EPW, 23 June 2012). This word belongs to the arsenal of the religious right, in the United States in parti­cular, the so-called pro-life groups, who seek to deny women the right to safe and legal abortions. Public health workers and feminists who recognise and respect this right therefore abjure the word, using instead the phrase sex-selective abortions, highlighting anti-women ­discrimination instead. Even the title of the editorial could be mistaken for having been written by a so-called pro-lifer. Pro-lifers are never for the life of the already born, the discriminated and the marginalised. Words are important and often convey far more than what we mean. It is a mystery to us why we continue to say dowry deaths - as if they occur naturally - rather than dowry murders.

Mohan Rao, Vineeta Bal
New Delhi

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