Pro-life advocates in India gathered for the first national March for Life on Wednesday in New Delhi to mourn more than 50 years of the legalized killing of unborn babies in abortions in their country.
Herald Malaysia reports the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services in India and the Delhi Catholic Charismatic Service of Communion organized the pro-life march to mark the 51st anniversary of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which legalized abortion up to 20 weeks in India.
“We are lucky because we are alive today and have gathered here. It is our moral obligation as well as a sacred duty to pray that people will be inspired by God to stop abortion,” Auxiliary Bishop Deepak Valerian Tauro of Delhi told the crowd. “We have been praying for the war in Ukraine to come to an end. Let us also pray that the unjust killing of innocent and helpless children in wombs also comes to an end.”
During the march, pro-lifers held signs, sang hymns and prayed for restored protections for babies in the womb, the report continues. Afterward, the Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi hosted the Life Gala at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the city.
About 15.6 million unborn babies are aborted every year in India, according to the report. Last year, the Indian Parliament passed a law expanding legalized abortions to 24 weeks.
These pro-abortion laws have been particularly detrimental to women, born and unborn.
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Although sex-selection abortions have been illegal for decades in India, they still occur. Experts estimate approximately 46 million girls have been singled out for abortions in the past 50 years.
Research studies, census data and more show a massive gender gap in the Asian country. In 2019, Newsweek reported no baby girls were born in a three-month period in all of the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand state, northern India. Birth data from the district indicates that all of the 216 babies who were born were boys, according to the report. Authorities suspect the reason was sex-selection abortions.
In 2001, India reported 93 girls born to every 100 boys. In 2016, the ratio was 89 girls to every 100 boys, according to population data.
The discrimination hurts mothers, too. Frequently, Indian mothers are forced or coerced into aborting their unborn daughters, or they are abused for refusing to do so.
A few recently shared their stories with The Guardian to shed light on the problem. One woman, a 40-year-old from Mumbai, said her family forced her to abort eight unborn babies because they were girls. Another, Laali, 25, shared how distraught she was after her husband and in-laws forced her to have two abortions. She said they blamed her for giving birth to two daughters and insist that her third child be a son, according to the report.
Estimates vary, but researchers say anywhere between 42.6 million and 73 million unborn babies are aborted across the world annually.