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Catholics pledge aid to women

Many female fetuses are aborted every day to avoid dowry complications

Mariola Sequeria, Ajmer

April 1, 2011

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Catholic women in Ajmer diocese have declared “war” against the killing of female fetuses. The diocese in India’s Rajasthan state organized a day-long program on Sunday for 30 women to also help spread awareness on other social issues such as clearing doubts about HIV/AIDS, disseminating information on government schemes and using the Right To Information Act to get women their rights. Bishop Ignatius Menezes of Ajmer, regional chairman of the Women’s Commission said this kind of program was imperative now as a large number of female fetuses are aborted every day. “Can we afford to be silent spectators and not do anything about these missing women?” he asked. The census report released on March 31 reveals the lowest male-female ratio -- 914 per 1000 males -- in the country since independence in 1947. Rajasthan along with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra states are among the worst affected areas. Due to the number of selective abortions of female fetuses, use of prenatal sex determination for the purpose of abortion is now a criminal offense in India. People resort to killing female fetuses to avoid having to give a dowry for a daughters' marriage. In most Indian communities, the bride’s family has to give cash and goods to the bridegroom as a precondition for marriage. ID13825.1647
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