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Nearly seven million fewer girls are expected to be born in India between now and 2030 due to the country’s extensive use of sex-selective abortion, a study has estimated.

Academics from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia say the dramatic figures are a result of a preference for boys, and called for the introduction of support to counter “existing gender biases”.

India is estimated to have 63 million fewer women and girls than expected since tests were introduced in the 1970s to determine the sex of the unborn baby.

‘Valued and cherished’
Currently, India’s sex ratio at birth is between 900-930 girls for every 1,000 boys.

In the Sikar district in Rajasthan, the ratio is 888 girls born per 1,000 boys.

Anuradha Saxena, a women’s rights activist in Sikar, said: “It will take time to remove deep-rooted custom and belief”.

She added that the group is working on “making girls valued and cherished instead of being seen as a liability who needs a huge dowry to be married off”.

No UK ban
In 2015, MPs rejected an explicit ban on sex-selective abortion, proposed by Fiona Bruce, by 292 to 201 votes.

She noted in her speech that, while the Government says the practice is illegal, abortion providers are “staggeringly” refusing to accept that.

Rani Bilkhu, a long-time campaigner on the issue, commented that the result was “an insult to the women we work with who have suffered under the burden of sex-selective abortion and have said they want clarity in the law.

“To think that a few Westminster bubble MPs could scupper such an important vote mocks the very fabric of British democracy.”

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Date published: 06/10/2020
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