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Shaheen, Rubio Welcome Senate Passage Of Girls Count Act

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed last night’s Senate passage of the “Girls Count Act,” a bill they introduced earlier this year to address the lack of birth registry systems around the world that leaves approximately 51 million children annually without being registered at birth, most of whom are girls.

Proof of birth verifies a child’s citizenship, nationality, place of birth, parentage and age, which are critical to ensuring children remain a part of society and do not fall victim to dangers such as exploitation. The Girls Count Act directs current U.S. foreign assistance programming to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries by working to establish birth registries in their countries.

 "Every child has the right to be recognized and protected," said Shaheen. "The passage of this bill is an important step toward safeguarding the basic rights of women and girls, and making sure they are able to thrive and succeed."

“When children are not registered at birth, they cannot achieve their full potential or have their dignity recognized for the simple reason that governments don’t acknowledge that they even exist,” Rubio said. “Without any official records, these children have been left vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, and excluded from accessing basic services, like education and health care.
“Of course all children exist and are worthy of protection, and it should be a U.S. policy goal to help all kids get registered at birth,” Rubio continued. “Passage of the Girls Count Act brings us one step closer to making sure every child can be counted and able to fully participate in and contribute to their societies.”