Legal group warns about sex-selective abortion on Day of the Girl Child

Indian girl CreditVSAnandhakrishna  Shutterstock  V.S.Anandhakrishna / Shutterstock.

On the International Day of the Girl Child, a legal advocacy group in India is drawing attention to the problem of sex-selective abortion and calling for efforts to end the practice.

"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."

Arora called for greater awareness of the devastation caused by sex-selective abortion, and a commitment to fight against it, on the International Day of the Girl Child.

The day, which has been observed on Oct. 11 since 2012, "aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights," according to the United Nations.

"We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations," said UN Secretary General António Guterres in a statement marking the day. "Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life."

Part of this effort to promote the rights of girls is protecting their right to life, ADF International insisted.

The group noted that the UN's Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery cautioned in a recent report that an imbalance in numbers of men and women has led to women being trafficked and forced into marriage and surrogacy.

In India alone, more than 63 million girls have been aborted in the past decade, simply because they were not boys, ADF International said.

"Not only in India, but in many countries, sex-selective abortion has become a growing threat to girls' lives," the group warned. "Millions of girls worldwide have not been born due to this practice."

Through its #VanishingGirls campaign, ADF India draws attention to the problem of sex-selective abortion in the country and pushes for the full implementation of a 1994 India law banning the practice.

The campaign, begun in 2016, has also held events celebrating girls and promoting nutrition, safety, and education for girls.

"Every child is precious. Both girls and boys have an equal right to life and liberty," Arora said.

"Our nation cannot afford to lose its little girls to discrimination and neglect," she continued. "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."

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