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India: 17.3 million girls not born due to sex-selective abortion

  • #VanishingGirls campaign advocates for girls’ right to life in India
  • International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October

NEW DELHI (10 October 2019) – In India, girls are aborted every day simply because they are not boys. Tomorrow is the International Day of the Girl Child, which was introduced to help focus on the status of girls in society all over the world. Not only in India, but in many countries, sex-selective abortion has become a growing threat to girls’ lives. Millions of girls worldwide have not been born due to this practice. ADF India launched the #VanishingGirls campaign to highlight this issue.

“In our country, 7,000 babies are aborted every day for one reason: they are girls instead of boys,” said Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India. “India’s skewed sex ratio shows that, as a nation, we have failed girls. They are either aborted or, once born, subject to various forms of violence. It’s time to address this issue, especially on the International Day of the Girl Child. Every child is precious. Both girls and boys have an equal right to life and liberty. Our nation cannot afford to lose its little girls to discrimination and neglect. India’s future is interlinked with the lives of the girls and women of the country. Whoever believes that girls share the same rights as boys cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in India today.”

#VanishingGirls campaign

India has lost over 63 million women in the past one decade due to the wide spread use of this practice as well as other factors such as lack of nutrition and the neglect of newborn girls. There are 21 million girls unwanted by their family in the country today, according to the 2018 Economic Survey issued by the Indian government.

The #VanishingGirls campaign is an initiative of ADF India advocating for the right to life particularly focusing on the practice of sex-selective abortion in India. The campaign launched in 2016 and has celebrated the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child every year since.

In addition to raising awareness about sex-selective abortion, ADF India’s #VanishingGirls campaign also advocates for a correct implementation of the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act that India adopted in 1994. The law is an important instrument in the fight against sex-selective abortion and could help bring a gradual change to Indian society, in which girls are still heavily discriminated against. Implementation of the act, however, has been poor and sporadic in most parts of the country.

This year, ADF India and the #VanishingGirls campaign launched a nationwide photography competition with the theme #giveherLIFE to raise awareness around the girl child. LIFE stands for love, inheritance, freedom, and equality.

Global human rights institutions on sex-selective abortion

In a recent report, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery for the United Nations warned of an unequal amount of men and women leading to an increase in trafficking of women for forced marriage or surrogacy.

Find out more.

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