Though Friday’s International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world, women are still seen as less valuable than men in many countries, including India, attorneys with ADF India explain. The practice of sex-selective abortion is one such indicator and is a persistent threat to girls’ lives.
India has lost more than 60 million women in the past decade alone due to the widespread use of this practice. Twenty-one million girls are unwanted by their family in the country today, according to the 2018 Economic Survey that the Indian government issued.
“In our country, 50,000 babies are aborted every month for one reason: They are girls instead of boys,” said ADF India Director Tehmina Arora. “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 International Women’s Day.”
“Every child is precious,” Arora continued. “Both women and men 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 women and girls of the country. Whoever believes that women share the same rights as men cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in India today.”
The #VanishingGirls campaign is an initiative of ADF India launched in 2016 which advocates for the right to life. It particularly focuses on the practice of sex-selective abortion in India.
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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 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 women and girls are still heavily discriminated against. Implementation of the act, however, has been poor and sporadic in most parts of the country.
“International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that, tragically, countless girls in India are killed before birth simply because they are girls,” said ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman. “Sex-selective abortion has had a profound impact on Indian society as seen by the status of women that country.”