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Sex-selection abortion harming society, India's president warns

Catholic World News - March 18, 2011

Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the president of India and the first woman to hold the office, has expressed grave concern over reports of a steady decline in the number of young women in the country. If the trend continues, it will have “a negative impact on the society,” President Patil cautioned while addressing a university convention at Chandigarh on March 17. Patil’s warning comes in the wake of a study by international health experts projecting that the number of women in India will be 20% less than the population of men by the year 2030. The growing demographic gap is attributable to sex-selection abortions; a heavy cultural prejudice against female children prompts many parents to abort female babies. Hence the first woman president of India called for “an agenda to empower women at every stage and sphere of life--from protection in the womb, by prohibiting female feticide; to preventing female infanticide, by giving better nutrition and care to the girl child, and addressing gender preferences in families; to giving equal education opportunities for the girl child, by sensitizing society to look at a girl child as a boon.” It is significant that Patil chose to make her plea at Chandigarh. The city is capital of both the Haryana and Punjab states, in which several regions have already reported that there are only 800 girl babies born each year for every 1,000 boys.

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