“India’s Missing Girls” was the title of an open hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, held Tuesday by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global health and human rights.
“By shining a light on what is happening in India with its missing girls, we hope to move toward a world where every woman is valued and respected because of her intrinsic dignity, and where every child is welcomed regardless of his or her sex,” said Smith. “Sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have led to lopsided sex ratios. In parts of India, for example, 126 boys are born for every 100 girls. This in turn leads to a shortage of marriageable women, which then leads to trafficking in persons, bride selling and prostitution.” Click here to read Congressman Smith’s opening statement.
Smith said laws at the state level exacerbate the problem, mandating that parents only have two children, penalizing those who exceed this number and denying benefits. Click here to read Smith’s opening remarks.
Testifying were: Dr. Matthew J. Connelly, Ph.D., Professor, Columbia University, Dr. Sabu George, Ph.D., Independent researcher, Jill McElya, Vice President, Invisible Girl Project and Mallika Dutt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Breakthrough. Click here to read their testimonies.
“I have spent some 10 years researching population control around the world – both
campaigns to control fertility, and eugenic programs to weed out the ‘unfit,’” said Connelly, who researched more than 50 archives, including government and private collections in Delhi, and interviewed key figures from the Indian government, USAID, the United Nations, and leading NGOs. “I’ve also spent time talking with ordinary people in India who paid the price for population control experiments, but still lack access to basic maternal and reproductive healthcare.
“If you believe – as I do – that the struggle for gender equality is one of the defining issues of our time, there can be no more important question than why boys increasingly outnumber girls, and what kind of world they will inherit if women have become a minority,” Connelly said. “Selective abortion is just one of a host of new issues that are shifting reproductive politics into uncharted territory.”