Family Planning - Uttar Pradesh, India Population

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Sitara's (aged 35, unseen) children Ajman (5, centre bottom), Roshni (10, girl in blue), and Tamanna (8 months, baby) stand with their neighbours outside their house in a village in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. "I wish that I could stop getting pregnant but our religion says that children are a gift of God." says Sitara, an illiterate muslim lady whose husband works as a vegetable vendor in the local village market. They have resisted all advises of permanent sterilization from the local village-level health workers. In India, male children are preferred and wives are often pressured heavily into trying for more male children immediately after finding out that their newborns are female. Sex determination ultrasounds are illegal in India due to high female foeticide cases. Allahabad, a poorer district of the state of Uttar Pradesh, is the most populated district of the most populous state of India. While Ghaziabad, located close to India's capital city, Delhi, has a population of 4,661,452 with a sex ratio of 878 girls against every 1000 boys, and a high literary percentage of 85%, Allahabad, has a population of 5,959,798 and a sex ratio of 902 girls against every 1000 boys and a literacy rate of 74.41%. Photo by Suzanne Lee / Panos London