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Young mother highlights harms of sex selection


Topic | Right to Life

Being a woman can bring life-threatening challenges to those living in South Asia – from before birth all the way into adulthood. Bhavna*, a young mother in Dhanbad, Jharkhand is familiar with such discrimination. She was disowned by her husband and her parents-in-law, with whom she had been living with for the majority of her three-year marriage, after giving birth to a girl rather than a boy in May 2020. Bhavna, who survived violent attacks at the hands of her husband and his parents while pregnant, sought support from ADF India. 



Advocacy Team:
Tehmina Arora

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“We are committed to a future where human dignity is affirmed for all women and girls, including those in the womb.”

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ADF India provides free legal assistance through our panel of allied lawyers to women like Bhavna, and seeks justice for those who suffer for giving birth to girls. For more details, visit 

A culture of “son preference” in India has resulted in discrimination against girls at the earliest stages of life, and brought about a very high number of sex-selective abortions. The widespread practice threatens the lives of millions and has resulted in a severe sex ratio imbalance throughout the country. Data published in 2018 by the Registrar General of India shows a ratio of 844 girls born per every 1000 boys in Delhi. New research published in April in The Lancet confirms that missing female births are increasing. Sex ratios are worsening across almost all states, with an overall 60% increase in cases of “vanishing girls” in the most recent decade compared to previous decades. 

Pre-natal selection of children based on sex – condemned by the UN General Assembly as a “harmful practice” in 2019 – has been linked to increased violence against women and a growing demand for human trafficking. 

Find out more about the Vanishing Girls campaign at

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