UNFPA Urges End to Female Infanticide in India

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), urges the end of sex-selective abortion and infanticide in India. According to the UN News Services, the ratio of girls to boys has sharply decreased over the past decade due to such practices. According to Obaid, “discrimination against girls anywhere in the world is a social ill and human rights violation, which must be stopped. Girls, like boys, deserve equal love, equal opportunity and equal rights.”

The Indian government conducted a study addressing the violations of Indian laws prohibiting sex selection that estimates that several million fetuses have been aborted in India over the past two decades because they were female, reports the New York Times. The data notes a national decline from 945 to 927 in the number of girls per 1,000 boys ages 0-6 from 1991-2000. According to the UN News Services, the publication notes that in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the ratio of boys to girls was even lower – at 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Some states have started public education campaigns, inspections and edicts from religious leaders to end female infanticide and sex-selective abortion. Abortion is legal in India. National law states that it is illegal to abort a fetus because of its sex.

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New York Times 10/26/03; UN News Service 10/28/03

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