Plan Uses Birth Registration to Combat Sex-Selective Abortion
By counting every child, Plan International is working to reverse what has become an alarming trend in India.
Even though sex-selective abortions and use of ultrasound technology for fetal sex-determination is illegal, more than half a million female fetuses are terminated every year.
According to the nation’s 2011 Census, the ratio of girls to boys dropped to an all-time low since records began. Today, there are just 914 girls for every 1,000 boys between 0 and 6 years old in India. The unbalanced ratio fuels human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Economic development is jeopardized and social instability rises as a growing population of men search for partners.
To end the trend, it is crucial for the government to be able to monitor the gender ratio of the population by having access to real-time, reliable data. This is where an effective birth registration system comes in. Monitoring gender imbalances within the population is a central purpose of collecting birth registration data.
Getting in the way of realizing this vision are issues like corruption, identity theft, forgery, and the number of people possessing false documents. Civil registration data are only useful for planning where it is accurate and reliable. For that reason, Plan launched the “Let Girls Be Born” campaign in six Indian states. The campaign calls for greater investment in effective, comprehensive, and rights-based civil registration and vital statistics systems, including every child’s right to have their birth registered.
To date, Plan has helped register more than 467,000 children in India.
“Plan has been working in India for the last three decades and the survival, protection, and development rights of girls have been a key focus of our community development work,” said Bhagyashri Dengle, Plan India Executive Director.
Since 2005, Plan has helped register 40 million children in 36 program countries around the world and influenced laws in 10 countries so that 153 million can enjoy the rights that come with a birth certificate.