Indian American actress Rashmi Rustagi (top left) has written/produced/acted in a film about female feticide, “Unborn.” Now streaming on Amazon, Rustagi said she was surprised to learn that it is also practiced by Indian Americans and South Asians in certain parts of the U.S. (Unborn/Facebook photo)

A new hard-hitting short film is highlighting the long prevalent practice of female feticide.

Titled, “Unborn,” the film is written/produced by Indian American actress Rashmi Rustagi, who also stars in the 15-minute film. “Unborn” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

It is common knowledge that female feticide is common in India and its surrounding countries, said Rustagi, but what took her by surprise was the fact that it is also practiced by Indian Americans and South Asians in certain parts of the U.S.

“A gynecologist told me that if an Indian patient finds out that the fetus is female, the likelihood of aborting it is very high, even higher if it is her second or third female child,” said Rustagi. “Several other gynecologists said that they had similar experiences and that most of the time it is the husband and/or parents-in-law that pressure the woman to have the abortion.”

The reasons given by patients and families for their preference of a male child are the same everywhere: he would continue the family name; he would take care of the family business and his aging parents; and most importantly, a man is not masculine enough if he cannot father a son, she explained.

“As a woman and a mother of daughters, I believe that women should have the power to make decisions about their own bodies and to speak up for themselves,” noted the Los Angeles, Calif.-based filmmaker.

She stressed that she wrote and produced the short film to convey the above-said message to all the women in the world.

“If one woman, one husband, one family, sees this film and a female child is given a chance to survive and ultimately thrive, then this film has done its job!” she said.

Directed by Jaswant Dev Shrestha, the film stars Ayushi Chhabra.

(1) comment


Thank you India West for writing about Unborn and this important topic! Just to clarify, Rashmi Rustagi is the writer/producer of this film. Jaswant Dev Shrestha is the director.

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