Gender Justice – Despite skewed sex ratio, conviction under PCPNDT Act rare


Despite India’s declining child sex ratio, as many as 30 states and union territories have not convicted even a single person for pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic between 2011 and 2013, raising concerns about the poor implementation of the PCPNDT Act.

The five states which have worst child sex ratio (CSR) – Daman and Diu (618 girls per 1,000 boys), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (775), Chandigarh (818), Delhi (866) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (878) – have also not punished anyone during the period.

The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted to stop female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio by banning pre-natal sex determination.

Child sex ratio in India has reached an alarming low with 918 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 from 927 in 2001, but not much seems to have been done to ensure strict implementation of the Act to deter female foeticide.

According to data available with the Health Ministry, only 32 people have been punished in the whole country as against 563 cases reported for conducting sex determination tests between 2011 and 2013.

The data shows that only four states convicted 13 people in 2013.

In 2012, eight persons were punished by three states and in 2011, 11 people by four states.

Punjab, which has one of the lowest CSR with 895 girls to 1,000 boys, has convicted only two persons in the period while it reported 52 such cases.

Haryana with 879 CSR registered 54 cases under the Act but no conviction took place.

Similarly, Delhi registered 10 cases but could not manage to punish anyone.

The phenomenon has spread to areas which were not known for disparity in CSR including tribal areas and eastern states, said a Women and Child Development Ministry official.

The trend was particularly acute in more developed areas of the country including metropolitan cities.

Non-implementation of the Act has been the biggest failing of the campaign against sex selection, the officialsaid.

Pune – ‘IVF ad for male child’ illegal under PCPNDT Act

‘IVF ad for male child’
Indira IVF centre in Viman Nagar has claimed the advert was not intentional (PICS: DHANANJAY HELWADE)
Activist serves legal notice to civil surgeon, PMC alleging fertility clinic promises baby ‘Krishna’ for all.

A private fertility clinic has been caught on the wrong side of law after its bid for publicity was alleged to be a promotion to beget a male child. An activist has sent a legal notice to the district civil surgeon of Ahmednagar as well as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), urging them to take action against Indira IVF centre at Viman Nagar for putting gender specific words in an advertisement for their camp in Ahmednagar.

Ganesh Borhade, who sent the notice three to four days ago, informed Mirror, “The advertisement says ‘Nisantaata Bharat Chhodo’ (Childlessness Leave India). It’s a campaign for every house to have Lord Krishna playing in the yard. Here, they could have used a gender neutral word. However, these words point at a male child. This is in contravention of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.” For a case that falls under this Act, one can only approach the appropriate authority — a legal designation under the PCPNDT Act — in this case, the district civil surgeon to take suitable action. The reason Borhade sent a notice to PMC as well was because the IVF centre was under the civic body’s jurisdiction.

The advertisement had appeared in a prominent local daily in Ahmednagar on May 20. Subsequently, Borhade had sent a text message to the contact number provided. In reply, he was asked to visit Hotel Farhat on May 23 (last Saturday), where an appointment had been fixed for him in the morning. He, of course, didn’t pursue the appointment anymore.

Pointing to a general trend followed by clinics offering sex determination services, Borhade said, “They don’t inform you directly whether it’s a girl or a boy. They generally have male and female deities on either side of the wall. If it’s a girl child, they look upon the wall with the female god and pray and, in case of a male child, they pray to the male god. Such sign language is also prohibited by the PCPNDT Act.”

He has alleged that the IVF centre is covertly suggesting that it will help people to conceive a male child. “Why use the word Lord Krishna? Why not any other female goddess or, for that matter, just the word child?

This is leading people to believe that the clinic specialises in male children,” he stressed, adding that the authorities should have acted on their own accord, rather than wait for a legal notice.

When Mirror contacted the Ahmednagar civil surgeon, Dr S M Sonawane, he said, “I will immediately call for a copy of the newspaper and accordingly ask the state appropriate authority to take action. We will also give suitable replies to the legal notice.” On the other hand, PMC’s appropriate authority, Dr Vaishali Jadhav, informed, “We have sought an opinion from experts on this and will take action accordingly.”

However, Indira IVF centre insisted that the advert was a clear case of oversight, stressing that nothing was intentional. “We have strict norms when it comes to the PCPNDT Act. We support the Beti Bachao Andolan. Everywhere in the centre, and even on our letterhead, we have written that we do not practise prenatal sex determination here. We are originally based in Udaipur, so we think in Hindi. We did not think it would mean something like this when we wrote the ad. It was not our intention either,” said Nitiz Murdia, the clinic’s marketing head.

Modi’s shaky race to save India’s girls 

  • beti

Amritsar, May 23 (IANS/IndiaSpend) It’s a substantial but sparse two-room house, and flies infest the courtyard, buzzing ceaselessly around Manseerat Gill, 14 days old. Undisturbed by their buzzing, she sleeps peacefully.

For the next six years — thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s determination to fight the country’s bias against daughters — Manseerat’s well-being and survival will be the responsibility of a six-foot-tall man with piercing eyes and a full, flowing grey beard.

Ranjit Singh Buttar is a rare male gynaecologist here in this holy Sikh city, and as district health officer, he has many other tasks, including running rural health centres, delivering contraceptives and ensuring polio inoculations to every new born.

Amritsar is one of 100 Indian “gender-critical” districts — 10 are in Punjab, among India’s five richest states by per capita income — included in Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save a daughter, educate a daughter)” programme, launched in January to fight the nation’s deep-rooted bias against daughters.

A poster for the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign is outside the District Commissioner’s office in Amritsar.

“The discrimination against girls is an illness, an illness of the heart, which leads us to think sons are more important,” said Modi at the launch. “Even in feeding, a mother adds ghee to a son’s ‘khichri’ but will deny this to a daughter.”

Modi is not the first prime minister to realise that is losing girls. While the 1990s saw three such programmes, since 2005 there have been 11 schemes, one following the other, to ensure that more girls — discriminated against at birth and in upbringing — are born, live, go to school and do not marry early.

Yet, the girls continue to disappear. About 2,000 girls die — aborted or starved, poisoned or otherwise killed after birth — every day in India, according to Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who provided this data in April. The estimates of women so missing range from two million to 25 million.

Gandhi said Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao — which, among other things, seeks to eliminate gender-based foeticide and ensure survival of the girl child — was already showing surprising results.

“Hundreds of girl children are being thrown into orphanages in these 100 districts,” she told NDTV in an interview. “I was in Amritsar and the DC (Deputy commissioner) told me they had received 89 girls this month. I thought this is a weird statistic.”

It is. The minister got things wrong, INDIASPEND’s reporting indicates. The 82 girls she cites were abandoned in Amritsar not since January but since 2008, not as an impact of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ but as a general malaise of giving up daughters.

What Amritsar did since 2008 was to collect these abandoned children as part of a “Pangura” (cradle in Punjabi) programme, housed in an International Red Cross building. Parents can leave children at a cradle here, instead of on the road or in fields. When a child arrives, a bell alerts staff, who place it in a hospital and later with adoption agencies.

Pangura, which has a physical cradle placed in the International Red Cross building, has collected 82 abandoned girls in Amritsar since 2008.

Pangura received 92 children since 2008, 82 of them girls. The scheme is a reasonable success, but 82 girls saved over seven years will not impact skewed gender ratios. Besides, experts said abandoning daughters is no better than killing them.

PM Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme appears to focus on changing mindsets. Its first step is to spread awareness: Mobile vans and material have reached districts.

What has not reached districts is money.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs.100 crore for ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ in the 2015-16 budget. Each district in the hundred gender-critical districts will get Rs.55 lakh for 2014-15, followed by Rs.31 lakh in 2015-16.

Buttar’s office is yet to get the first tranche of funds, two months after Jaitley’s announcement. Minister Gandhi’s office did not respond to INDIASPEND’s interview request.

If Modi’s programme has to impact pint-sized Manseerat, money, while important, is not the only factor. The effort, as past experience shows, cannot be piece-meal, split by bureaucracy, confused and uncoordinated.

India’s political history is littered with programmes to protect girls such as Manseerat. Dhanalakshmi. Bhagyalakshmi. Rajalakshmi. Ladli. Balri Rakshak Yojana. Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yogana. Balika Samridhi Yojana. Beti Hai Anmol. Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana. Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Scheme. Most have been of limited or no efficacy, hobbled by a rigid array of conditions and uncertainties about why they have not worked.

“(Our) findings point to the need to simplify the eligibility criteria and conditionalities, and also the procedures of registration under each of these schemes,” noted a United Nations Population Fund study.

“Though year after year substantial financial resources have been directed towards promoting these schemes, there is a lack of field-level monitoring. In the absence of a proper grievance-redressal mechanism, the challenges often multiply. In some states, the lack of coordination across different sectors such as health, education and social welfare is adversely affecting programme implementation.”

Implementing officers complained that other departments did not cooperate with them. In some states, tardy coordination between financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, and implementing departments delayed bonds, certificates and bank accounts. In most schemes, the involvement of local village institutions, NGOs and women’s groups was “rather limited”, as the study noted.

The Ministry of Social Welfare has been the nodal ministry for some schemes. State governments run parallel programmes they can tom-tom at election time. The “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme, managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, will be implemented through deputy commissioners and top bureaucrats in each district.

“The effort is fragmented. You need one entity that is then also responsible for results,” said Buttar, whose office has written a plan for the scheme’s implementation covering Amritsar district’s 15 towns and 739 villages, home to 2.5 million people, 8.9 percent of Punjab’s population.

In Punjab, fewer than 850 girls survive to reach the age of six, 68 less than India’s already poor average of 918 daughters to a 1,000 sons. Neighbouring Haryana has 12 districts in the programme. Maharashtra matches Punjab with 10 districts, where fewer girls are allowed to be born or survive compared to India’s average.

What Modi is up against is people’s desire for a male heir. “How can you expect daughters-in-law if you don’t have daughters?” Modi said at the public gathering on the launch of his scheme in Panipat, Haryana.

Not only do disappearing girls take a toll in terms of fewer number of brides and trafficking of women, India loses workforce talent and diversity. For instance, economists have struggled to explain the fall in women in India’s workforce — contrary to global trends — over the 2000s, despite a rise in industrialisation and prosperity.

“Labour participation, same emoluments for same work, nutritional standards–they paint a grim picture,” said Krishna Kumar, a Delhi University professor who has researched discrimination against girls.

Government programmes, he said, are populist but cannot trigger social change.

In Nangli village in Amritsar, Manseerat’s mother, Pinky, fresh-faced and 23, looks too young to have had two children. Both are daughters.

Pinky, 23, looks too young to have two children. Since both are girls, she might try to conceive again in the hope of having a son and “completing the family”.

Thanks to the presence of a trained health worker under the Rural Health Mission run by Buttar’s office, Manseerat was born in a hospital and not at home. She will also be innoculated. Her family of nine — sister, parents, grandparents, three unmarried uncles — live on a monthly income of Rs 15,000.

Pinky, who uses one name, has a ready laugh but it is clear she is disappointed with Manseerat.

“Could have been a son,” she said. “Her father says a son will complete the family.” Pinky’s conversation with her mother-in-law indicated she would give motherhood another shot–in hope of a son.

It is this desire for a male heir that Buttar’s office is up against.

Buttar, whose office keeps a record of gender ratios in Amritsar, said: “I am an eternal optimist; no effort goes waste.”

The optimism, in many ways mirroring Modi’s, will go only so far. To begin with, programmes for the girl child need to be brought under one roof, those involved in the programme said. The implementing department or ministry should have money, manpower and jurisdiction to use the carrot and stick: give incentives to have girls, hold awareness drives to change mindsets and prosecute under the law that criminalises female foeticide.

If the office of district family welfare officer is to be given the key responsibility for Modi’s mission, then that office needs to be rid of diverse tasks, such as running rural health clinics, distributing contraceptives and family planning programmes.

Amritsar’s district family welfare office, headed by Ranjit Singh Buttar. It is already overstretched, serving a population of 2.5 million across 15 towns and 739 villages.

Over two years, 2011-2013, no more than 32 people were punished under the law that criminalises pre-birth gender testing; gender-testing cases reported stood at 563, according to the Press Trust of India. Thirty states have not had even one conviction under this law, noted the Supreme Court of India.

Outside Buttar’s cabin, junior officer Tripta Sharma explained how she successfully played a decoy pregnant woman. She was sent to an ultra-sound clinic that was alleged to have violated the law by offering gender tests. The police made an arrest. But eight court appearances over a year and a half exhausted Sharma. The court dismissed the case.

“We are doctors, not lawyers,” said Buttar, who said his office would appeal the acquittal. He frequently raids ultrasound clinics, checking a third of them by rotation. With reluctant decoys, all his office has by way of checks on doctors and clinics is a document called “Form F”, on which clinics must declare the purpose of the pre-birth test and the doctor-in-charge.

Academic research on female foeticide — research which is dated by now, as foeticide peaked during the 2000s and then dropped off – -has discouraging findings. Female foeticide increases with easy access to medical facilities, ability to pay doctors and the availability of good roads, which cut down travel time, according to demographer Ashish Bose in his book-sex-selective Abortion in India, based on fieldwork in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

In short, progress means more girls could die. Modi’s programme could mean a lot to Manseerat’s future–but not in its current form.


Eight wards shame Mumbai with skewed sex ratio at birth

Child sex ratio in India



By | Feb 20, 2013, 06.57 AM IST


MUMBAI: While the civic administration’s statistics show that the sex ratio at birth for Mumbai has improved slightly in the last one year, experts are not too impressed. They say that the administration has to sustain such results over a decade before there is any significant change in the city’s or even India‘s skewed sex ratio.


A senior civic official, however, insisted that any increase, however small, is a step in the right direction.

Both Maharashtra and Mumbai, in particular, have shown an anti-girl bias in the last two census.

Civic figures show that the sex ratio at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – for 2012 was 922:1,000, up from 917 in 2011. But a closer look at the ward-wise break-up shows that eight wards have registered a dip in sex ratio at birth.

In south Mumbai’s Pydhonie area, for instance, only 860 girls were born for every 1,000 boys last year.

In 2011, the locality was placed better at 981 girls per 1,000 boys. In fact, the Pydhonie-Byculla-Parel belt of the island city, the prosperous Goregaon-Malad-Kandivli belt of the western suburbs and the populous belt from Bhandup to Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs have all shown a dip in sex ratio at birth.

A L Sharada from the NGO, Population First, said it would be premature to think that such marginal increase is of any significance. She added that easy access to medical tools such as ultrasound machines, which can illegally be used to find the sex of the unborn child, was responsible for the skewed sex ratio.

“The cost of living in Mumbai is high. People want small families and still have a great desire for a male child. This is true in both the slums as well as non-slum pockets of the city,” she said.

Sharada added that the BMC should now study why certain areas, such as Parel in south central Mumbai, have consistently registered a lower-than-city-average sex ratio.

Her NGO had earlier conducted a survey to underline poor adherence among ultrasound clinics of the rules laid down under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

“Until there is stringent conviction for offenders and better gender sensitivity among the population, the problem of skewed sex ratio at birth cannot be solved,” said Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Forum Against Sex Selection.





Sex Selection -Illegal ads on #Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT


Corporate communication

Google, India

2 November 2012

Complaint—Regarding illegal ads on Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT

The Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act has banned the promotion or advertisement of services that allows one to choose the sex of one’s baby. Yet, Google is carrying advertisements of  the link of IVF that leads to websites that offer these services. Each time a person clicks on the ad, these companies makes money.

The Indian law against sex selection is comprehensive.   Section 22 defines advertisement and Section 26 states the penalties for violation by Companies.  They are given below:

Section 22:  Prohibition of advertisement relating to pre-natal determination of sex and punishment for contravention.

1.    No person, organization, Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic, including clinic, laboratory or centre having ultrasound machine or imaging machine or scanner or any other technology capable of undertaking determination of sex of foetus or sex selection shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement, in any form, including Internet, regarding facilities of pre-natal determination of sex or sex selection before conception available at such centre, laboratory, clinic or at any other place.
2.    No person or organization including Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement in any manner regarding pre-natal determination or preconception selection of sex by any means whatsoever, scientific or otherwise.
3.    Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or any other document including advertisement through Internet or any other media in electronic or print form and also includes any visible representation made by means of any hoarding, wall-painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas.

26. Offences by companies.

(1) Where any offence, punishable under this Act has been committed  by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where any offence punishable under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation.–For the purposes of this section,– (a) “company” means anybody corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals, and

(b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

The Indian Parliament enacted a special law because the medical community was not self-regulating these serious violations of medical ethics. The practice of sex selection is prohibited while foetal sex determination is regulated.

The PCPNDT Act applies to advertisements and content that advertises sex selection or foetal sex determination  methods/procedures/techniques.  Any form of advertising in India that promotes techniques, products or procedures of sex selection, sex determination is a violation of the law.

In 2008, theSupreme Court of India had served notices to you,  yet  violations of the law continue with impunity and  in response Google had issued a statement saying  “The Google advertising program is managed by a set of policies which we develop based on several factors, including legal requirements and user experience. In India, we do not allow ads for the promotion of prenatal gender determination or preconception sex selection. We take local laws extremely seriously and will review the petition carefully.”

But once again sex selection ads are mushrooming in your search engine in India  and the   continued violation in the Indian Internet space by  your company is  shocking.

Although the google policy when you click here


Product Allowed? Details
Dowryrequests  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote dowry requests or the offering or sale of dowry. “Dowry” means any property or valuable security given by the bride to the groom for marriage.
Doctor, lawyer, or accountant services  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads for services offered by doctors, lawyers, or accountants.
Gender or sex selection  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote the pre-natal determination of the gender of a child, or pre-conception selection of sex.
Infant food, milk substitutes, feeding bottles  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote or encourage the use of infant food, milk substitutes, or feeding bottles.

When  you  search of gender selection or sex selection on your search engine  you  get a sponsored ad

wherein you can also order the gender selection kit online

I demand you immediately remove gender /sex selection ads from google search engine in India

Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, for Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) Mumbai

cc 1) Director, PNDT Division, New Delhi

2) Cybercrime cell, Mumbai


FASS protests Maharashtra govt’s plans to slap murder charges for sex selection

We, the undersigned women’s organizations, strongly protest the statement made by the Health Minister, Mr Suresh Shetty who wants to recommend to the Central Government the application of section 302 (murder charges) against woman, husband, relatives and the doctors for cases of “sex selection”.

According to the PCPNDT Act, sex selection (the correct legal term) itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions under the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra.

We have always demanded the continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centers, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centers. Instead of concentrating on this issue and doctors who misuse medical technology, the discussion in the assembly focused on abortions. According to the MTP Act, abortions are a women’s right. We fear that applying section 302 (IPC) would curtail women’s access to safe abortion services.

We demand that the law deals strictly with those who perform the crime of sex selection. The political protection to erring doctors is a serious problem in Maharashtra and the government should take steps to put an end to political interference in implementation of PCPNDT Act.

Committed Communities Development Trust Population First
Population first
Stree Mukti Sanghthana

Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre
Forum Against Sex Selection

FASS submits Memorandum to the CM Maharashtra regarding actions on sex selection




7th  June, 2012

Honourable  Shri. Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister ,Maharashtra  State

Mantralay Mumbai
Subject : Appropriate actions about sex selection.

Respected Sir,

Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) is a network with over 50  Ngo’s and individual members . FASS has conducted interactive workshops to discuss its perspective and plan strategies to take the FASS campaign forward and to understand challenges to implementing the PCPNDT Act. Apart from improving the sex ratio, the main thrust of the FASS campaign is to strengthen the overall position of women in our State and to enable women to live with dignity, in a non-discriminatory environment.

We appreciate your efforts to stop the violations of PCPNDT Act and the brazenness of the doctors conducting sex determination tests and subsequent illegal abortions.

We are deeply concerned & apprehensive of the dwindling sex ratio all over Maharashtra and demand serious attention of the Government in protecting the girl child and all the women related health issues.

As you are aware  the women’s organizations have been trying to draw your attention  to female feticide practices in various districts of Maharashtra, in some districts such as Beed, Parbhani, Kolhapur etc. the sex selection  has reached to disproportionate  heights resulting in alarming discrimination of the girl child. In the light of the heinous crimes being committed against women and the girl child we make following demands and suggestions and request you to give priority to this issue.

a ) We demand that utmost care be taken to implement the PCPNDT Act & punish the guilty persons causing, committing , assisting  ins ex selection  ; however care should be taken to not punish the victim women.

b ) The Government must carefully examine the registration of  sonography machines and the records thereof. The doctors or the hospitals or clinics violating the provisions  of PCPNDT act be brought to the Book &  due legal action be taken immediately.

c ) The medical shops be directed to not to sell drugs & injections related to abortions & contraception without prescription of authorized doctors.

d) Immediate action against erring be taken. The  doctors and clinics whose sonography  machines are once sealed may not be allowed to use the same till their cases are over.

e ) More facilities be made available in Govt. and municipal hospitals for pregnant women including  sonography,  contraceptives, abortions and other medical issues.

f ) The women activists and organizations committed to the cause of prevention of sex selection and reproductive  rights of women be included in the committees under PCPNDT Act.

g ) We demand that under no circumstances the right to abortion as stipulated in the MTP Act be curtailed.

h ) We draw your attention to the recent  directive issued by State Chief Secretary Jayantkumar Banthia dated 4 June 2012 to curb sex selection cases. We demand that proper discussion be made with women activists and organizations before implementing the same.

I) Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1972. Safe abortion within the provisions of the MTP Act is the right of every woman. Access to safe abortion services has remained a challenge in India. An estimated 6.7 million abortions per year are performed in institutions not recognized by the government  India continues to have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world (254 per 100,000 live births per year). Up to 13% of these are caused by unsafe abortions, which is the third leading cause of maternal deaths

j ) There is also a need to monitor the functioning of Appropriate Authorities and ensure their proper functioning in coordination with  the women organizations working on the issue of gender discrimination.

Limiting access to safe abortion methods only pushes women towards unsafe methods, thereby endangering their health and survival. Monitoring women buying pills from pharmacies is regressive as it undermines the confidentiality aspect of abortion and can lead to harassment of women at the hands of officials. Such regulations are discriminatory and curtail autonomy of women over their own body, right to dignity and right to benefit from advances of science, medicine and technology.

Sex selection is  a phenomenon which emerges from gender discrimination and socio-economic bias. All efforts to prevent  sex selection must seek to address issues of gender discrimination, but not further constrain women’s access to safe abortion services.

We urge the  Government to focus on better implementation of the PCPNDT Act with diligent monitoring and supervision of technologies that have the potential to be misused.

We hope you will pay attention to those very urgent  demands & take appropriate steps.
Yours sincerely,

ForumAgainst Sex Selection (FASS), Mumbai
Core Group members

Dr. Kamakshi Bhate, Savitribai Phule GenderResource Centre (SPGRC)
Dr. A.L. Sharada, Population First
Dr. Nandita Shah, Akshara
Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana
Adv Kamayani  Bali Mahabal,  Human Rights  Lawyer and  Activist
Lakshmi Menon, Women Networking
Pramod Nigudkar, Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT)
Sneha Khandekar, SPGRC
Vaijayanti Bagwe, CCDT

Copy to :

Shri. Suresh Shetty
Honorable Minister of Public Health and
Family Welfare
Maharashtra State Government, Mumbai.

Sex determination tests happen not only in India but also in West with sizable Indian population

English: Young women looking at the Bay of Ben...

English: Young women looking at the Bay of Bengal at Puducherry, India Français : Jeunes femmes regardant le golfe du Bengale à Pondichéry, Inde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In mid-April, a reproductive clinic’s ad appeared in a newspaper for the Indo-Canadian community in British Columbia, inviting readers to “create the family you want, boy or girl, for family balancing” with the help of pre-conception sex selection. The two children in the ad wore ethnic Indian clothes.

The newspaper withdrew the ad following public outrage, while the clinic was accused of targeting cultural attitudes that perpetuate discrimination against girls. But the writing was on the wall.

For long, sex selection has been an  issue identified with countries like India and China where the usual rationales given include dowry, patriliny (descent or inheritance by the male line), one-child policy or dependence on kids’ support in old age. But now, studies in Canada, Norway, US and UK show the persistence of this cultural attitude within the diaspora too.

Dr Shiv Pande, a Liverpool-based general practitioner and a former treasurer of the General Medical Council in Britain, says: “As they say, Indians, wherever they go, carry their curry, customs and cultural baggage. Sex selection of the foetus is quite common among British Indians, though not known widely.”

In 2007, two Oxford academics, Sylvie Dubuc and David Coleman, carried out a study of the sex ratio, using the annual birth registrations in England and Wales between 1969 and 2005, and found that there was “indirect quantitative evidence of prenatal sex selection against females performed by a small minority of India-born women in England and Wales”. Interestingly, the study found no such evidence regarding Pakistan-born and Bangladesh-born women living in England and Wales.

Says Sylvie, “Based on numbers from my previous work, I estimated the number of missing baby girls for the period 1990-2005 to be about 1500. Note that these figures relate to immigrant (i.e. India-born ) women only (and not UK-born women of Indian origin).”

In February 2012, an investigation by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper discovered that some clinics were prepared to carry out such abortions with few, if any, questions asked. Likewise, the British Columbia newspaper ad came just days after a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAG) analyzed 766,688 births in Ontario and found mothers born in South Korea and India were more likely to have boys for their second child.

When it came to having a third child, the male-to-female ratio grew even more skewed for India-born mothers, who had 136 boys for every 100 girls (the world average ratio is 105:100).

Lead researcher of the study and scientist at St Michael’s hospital in Toronto, Joel G Ray, says, “Women from India and South Korea who had previous children were significantly more likely to give birth to males. For India-born women with more than one prior child, the male-female ratios were even more pronounced.”
Ray, however, cautions that “we (or anyone else) do not have direct evidence this is due to foetal sex selection.” But Mahvish Parvez of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association in Edmonton, says, “There is a strong suggestion that the skewed ratio is due to sex-selective abortion. We know that son preference strongly persists in immigrant communities.”


Many western nations have banned sex selection for non-medical purposes – the US is a notable exception. It is a profitable business there, with gender determination technologies easily available, both online and offline, and clients flying in from the UK, Australia and probably India too.

In 2006, two professors from Columbia University, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, examined the year 2000 US Census data and found that while more boys than girls are born by a ratio of 1.05 to 1 among families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the ratio increased if the first child was a girl. If the first two children are girls, the ratio was 50% greater in favour of boys.

It’s no surprise to community activists. Maneesha Kelkar, women’s rights activist and former executive director of Manavi, a New Jersey-based organization, remembers taking a call from a woman who said she was sitting on the operating table in an abortion clinic and was being forced to have an abortion.

“She didn’t tell me if the foetus was a girl, or why she was being told to have the abortion. When I asked what was preventing her from walking out, she said, ‘My in-laws are in the waiting room’ .”

Following such alarming reports of immigrant cultural behaviour, US Congressman Trent Franks had introduced a bill to ban sex-selective abortions (the Congress rejected it on Thursday). Kelkar feels the language around the Bill was “extremely anti-immigrant, anti-women”.

It “was going to target the immigrant community and add to the already anti-immigrant feeling in the US. It is unlikely to prevent Indian families from aborting female foetuses. You cannot legislate away a social issue.”

The negative publicity for the Indian community is one reason why some researchers caution against jumping the gun. Prabhat Jha, founding director of the Centre for Global Health Research, Toronto, says, “We need more evidence to confirm what is a suggestive pattern.

The Ontario estimates suggested selective abortion is still uncommon – about 1% of all births to South Asian-born women. Even in India, selective abortion is about 2% of all births. We need to be careful about stigma – do we want the 99% of South Asian families who don’t chose selective abortion in Ontario (if true, and that is not certain) to have a label as such?” He also warns that “we need to be very careful about putting any barriers that prevent women, especially newly migrant women who have low use of health care, from accessing good technologies (like ultrasound).”

The problem is that many immigrants live within their own social enclaves and may face the same social pressures as they would in India. Kelkar says, “I have heard so many women say, “Let my first child be a boy, then I won’t worry about the next.” It’s all about undervaluing the girl child, whether it is Surat, Southall or San Francisco.

(With inputs from Vrushali Haldipur in New York and Ashis Ray in London)

India – Sex ratio at birth on the decline

Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India, falling from 898 in 2013 to 887 in 2014, new data from Civil Registration System (CRS) released by the Office of the Registrar General of India show. The ratio has been declining since 2011 when the figure was 909.

The SRB based on CRS figures indicate the gap between ‘registered’ male and female births, calculated as the number of females per thousand males.

Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834) fare the worst. The highest SRB has been reported by Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993).

Data from the Sample Registration System is considered to be a more reliable source for demographic statistics because of inadequate coverage of CRS. The level of registration of births with CRS, however, has been improving. In 2014, it is estimated that 88.8 per cent births were registered, up from 85.6 per cent in 2013. Plus, 16 States or UTs recorded all births. 14 out of 20 major States crossed the 90 per cent level of registration of births in 2014.

  Illegal sex-determination services leaving urban hubs for remote villages

  • Sanchita Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |

A woman who was trafficked to Haryana covers her face. In areas with poor sex ratio, trafficking of brides from other states is common. (Subrata Biswas/ HT File Photo)

An ultrasound test costs Rs 200-300 in a government hospital, but the charges at a private clinic could run up to Rs 30,000 and more for parents who want to know the sex of their unborn baby.

And there are many who pay up, making unscrupulous doctors involved in illegal sex determination rich beyond belief. India is missing more than 25 million girls since 1991 — which is like losing the population of Australia in two decades — and unscrupulous doctors choosing money over lives are to blame.

Illegal abortion of unborn baby girls has brought down India’s child sex ratio — ratio of girls per 1,000 boys at age six — to 919 girls per 1,000 boys, down from 983 in 1951. Though the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC-PNDT Act) banned sex determination and pre-conception sex-selection in 1994, the high demand for services from parents desperate for a son has led to sex-determination services reaching villages where there are no toilets or safe drinking water.


India recorded its sharpest 18-point fall in child sex ratio between 2001, and 17 points in 1991, when prenatal diagnostic techniques such as ultrasounds and amniocentesis became widely available, marking the beginning of their misuse for sex determination. Apart from pre-conception procedures that help parents choose the gender of the baby, tests are now available that can determine the sex of the foetus in the seventh week of pregnancy. A blood test that analyses foetal DNA found in the would-be mother can determine a baby’s gender before eight weeks into pregnancy. The test, available in India, measures DNA fragments from the placenta circulating in the mother’s blood to detect Down syndrome and two other chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus, but it is also being used to determine the gender of the unborn baby for sex-selective abortions.

Worrying drop

“I’m not so worried about these tests because they are highly specialised and not available everywhere, unlike the around 55,000 registered ultrasound clinics registered in India, which are being misused by unscrupulous profiteers to bring down child sex ratio in almost every district of India,” says Sabu George, who is on India’s national inspection and monitoring committee PC&PNDT.

“I’m just back from Rajasthan, where ultrasound clinics are now found in every block in every district, unlike a decade ago when you just found them around urban hubs,” adds George, who has been tracking India’s falling sex ratio for more than three decades.

Some people blame the lack of a central supervisory mechanism. The PC-PNDT Act is under the ministry of health, schemes for the girl child are under the ministry of women and child development, while birth registration is under the ministry of home affairs. It should be under one nodal agency for effective implementation, recommends the Asian Centre for Human Rights’s report on The State of the PC&PNDT Act: India’s losing battle against female foeticide.

George disagrees: “The PC-PNDT act is very clearly under the ministry of health and family welfare and if states choose to act against those who break the law, foeticide can be stopped.”

Over the past two decades, the implementation of the PC-PNDT has been poor with some states showing spurts of activity. Haryana is on the right track, where the child sex ratio crossed 900 in two decades and even found mention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Haryana’s recent Swarna Jayanti Utsav.

“For the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (scheme), I begged people of Haryana to protect the lives of daughters… Today, in the entire country, if anyone is bringing improvement in the gender ratio at a fast pace, it is Haryana,” said Modi last week.

Rajasthan rising

Not quite. The state that’s out-performed Haryana is Rajasthan, which is among nine states with a sex ratio of less than 900. The state conducted 17 raids over the past four months, with seven raids carried inter-state — three in Gujarat, three in Uttar Pradesh, and one in Haryana. All the cases are under trial, with the respective high courts rejecting bails in four cases.

Rajasthan made it possible by setting up a PC-PNDT Bureau of Investigation, which works under the state appropriate authority empowered by the PC-PNDT Act to implement the law. Set up in September 2012 by an Act, the bureau has jurisdiction over the PC-PNDT Acct, the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.

The bureau works closely with the chief medical and health officers’ team. “The police have too many things to do, the idea is to have policemen dedicated to stopping the killing of the unborn girl child,” says Raghubir Singh, project director, PC-PNDT and an additional superintendent of police. The bureau has 120 posts for Rajasthan’s 33 districts, including a police officer in every district to set up decoy operations and conduct raids, NGO representatives and health officials.


“Section 178 in code of criminal procedure has a provision for action against continuing offences in different local areas, which makes it possible for us to raid offenders in other states who have patients from Rajasthan,” says Singh.

George says that no other state has taken the law as seriously and pushed convictions through like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Haryana.

“Sporadic convictions will not give results, you have to seal clinics and stop doctors from breaking the law. In Uttar Pradesh, for example, 30 clinics doing illegal ultrasounds were closed in Kushinagar district in March 2013, but that momentum was lost when the district collector was transferred,” he says.

The pressure to not implement the law is immense. “Doctors who make money, parents who don’t want a girl, people who see it as a social and cultural issue, not a crime, all want the law to fail but that cannot be allowed to happen. India needs its daughters as much as it sons,” Singh adds.

Health ministry to soon come out with draft SOPs as part of PCPNDT Rules

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai

The Union health ministry will soon come out with a set of new draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as a part of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Rules as a step towards making it more compliant and less stringent in the wake of nation-wide protests from radiologists a couple of months back.

The new draft SOPs is likely to be shared with the concerned stakeholders soon to make it more practical and acceptable to the radiologists, according to an official associated with the development.

Meanwhile, the Union health ministry is also planning to amend PCPNDT Rules to keep record-keeping out of the ambit of criminal provisions of the Act following recent representations made by the radiologists.

A committee under the Union health ministry has been constituted to recommend separate provisions for record- keeping and actual sex selection under the Act. The ministry is scheduled to make changes in the rules soon, according to a senior official associated with the development.

Accordingly, the committee is likely to lay down guidelines for a 3-tier categorization of offences based on the severity or seriousness of the violation to make it more practical for serving the desired purpose for which it was framed.

Government’s delay to modify PCPNDT Act led to harassment of radiologists by the authorities for minor administrative lapses and not actual sex selection in violation of the Act. Radiologists explain that the violation of the said Act amounts to equal punishment for sex determination and clerical errors.

Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) had in the past held meetings with the Union health minister J P Nadda and proposed to change the PCPNDT Rules with reference to record keeping to prevent harsh penalties for clerical errors.

Maharashtra State Branch Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (MSBIRIA) had three months ago suspended its services citing wrong implementation of PCPNDT Act by the authorities leading to closure of sonography clinics and prosecution of radiologists as they say that the rules are often misinterpreted.

Sex selection test: Three accused sent to judicial custody


JAIPUR: A special court for Pre-Conception, Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PCPNDT) of Sikar on Saturday sent three accused to 15 days of judicial custody for allegedly involved in sex selection activities.

A racket involved in sex selection activities was unearthed by health department’s PCPNDT cell by conducting decoy operation late Friday night.

The kingpin of the racket was a retired Centre’s compounder. Among the two other persons arrested were compounder’s wife and one agent.

It is the sixth such decoy operation conducted by the PCPNDT cell in Skekhawatiregion of the state in the past six months.

National health mission (NHM) mission director (state) Navin Jain said the decoy operation had been conducted on Friday night in a Raj Dental hospital in Mukundgarh. The arrested accused Ramawatar Dudi used illegal portable sonography machine for conducting sex selection test.

He said that in initial investigation it is found that the racket was active in nearby districts too including Sikar and Churu.

He said that the accused collected Rs9 lakh to Rs10 lakh every year by conducting sex selection activities. But it came as a shock for PCPNDT cell officials when they found that his wife Geeta helped him in sex selection activities. Not only his wife but other relatives are now under the scanner of the PCPNDT cell.



He said that the accused collected Rs9 lakh to Rs10 lakh every year by conducting sex selection activities. But it came as a shock for PCPNDT cell officials when they found that his wife Geeta helped him in sex selection activities. Not only his wife but other relatives are now under the scanner of the PCPNDT cell.


Besides, they have arrested one woman Sonu, who was allegedly acting as an agent of the couple in bringing clients for sex selection.


The three arrested accused were presented before the special PCPNDT court in Sikar, which sent them to 15-days judicial custody.


The PCPNDT cell officials are hopeful that they will get more clues from the arrested accused about sex selection activities being conducted in the Shekhawati region.

Why 10 million Indian women secretly undergo abortions every year

Gap between recorded and estimated abortions based on medicine sales suggests women are aborting foetuses, primarily female

Charu Bahri November 5, 2016


Arti Chauhan, 28, a resident of district Sirohi, southwestRajasthan, has had two abortions–the first surgical, the second medical–to terminate unwanted pregnancies. She said the medical was easy and much cheaper than the surgical abortion. Like her, across India, millions of women who conceive because they lack access to devices to limit or space their families, or are wary or ignorant of contraception, popto end their unwanted pregnancies

In 2008, Arti Chauhan (name changed to protect identity), mother of a 12-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year old girl, became aware that two pills— mifepristone and misoprostol, taken with a day’s gap between them—could induce an abortion, a procedure she considered when she got when her boy was just a year old.

Chauhan, 28, wife of a daily wager employed in a fabrication workshop in Mt Abu in southwest Rajasthan’s Sirohi district, did not want another child so soon.

“A neighbour told me about the medicine,” she said. “I bought it from the medical store for Rs 500. I aborted in 10 days. It was easy. I suffered no stomach cramps. It was much cheaper than having to pay for a surgical abortion.”

Three years earlier, Chauhan had paid Rs 2,000 to a private in the neighbouring town of Abu Road for a surgical abortion. “I had a baby daughter at the time, I wanted another child—a boy—but after a couple of years,” she said.

Chauhan’s story is echoed across India: Millions of women become because they lack access to devices to limit or space their families, or are fearful of using them, or, like Chauhan, are ignorant about devices. More than 10 million women terminate their pregnancies in the privacy of their homes, reflecting the government’s failure to adequately address needs, endangering mothers and keeping India more populated than it might be if women had access to and knowledge of contraceptives.

A programme and budget skewed towards sterilisation leaves one in five women with an unmet need for contraception in India, according to the District Level Household and Facility Survey 2007-08.

Eliminating all unwanted births by adequately meeting the need for contraceptives would reduce India’s total rate below the replacement level–a stage where the population neither increases nor decreases–of 2.1. India’s rate is currently 2.3, but if women were provided devices and guaranteed safe abortions, apart from keeping women safe, fewer babies would be born, and the rate could fall to 1.9 (the same asUS, Australia and Sweden), according to an estimate made by the 2005-06 Family Health Survey, the latest available.

“If the government adequately focuses on preventing unwanted births and on empowering women to make the right decisions, India’s population could actually start falling,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director, The Population Foundation of India, a nongovernmental organisation working on population issues.

The dangers of popping to induce abortion

After the birth of her third child—a girl she did not want—the Chauhans wanted a second boy. A neighbour suggested contraception. “Then I started using Mala-D,” she said.

Chauhan has been able to source Mala-D, a government-distributed oral pill, from the local government health facility, without break over the last six years. Otherwise, she would be repeatedly popping to terminate unwanted pregnancies, in doing so facing the prospect of complications such as severe abdominal or back pain, heavy bleeding with clotting, cramps, fever, vomiting, nausea, foul-smelling discharge, perforation and injury. An estimated 2 to 5% Indian women require surgical intervention to resolve an incomplete abortion, terminate a continuing pregnancy, or control bleeding, according to the World Health Organization.

The taking of to induce an enters the data as no more than pharmaceutical industry sales data. “Most of India’s unreported abortions are not to terminate unwanted teenage or single women pregnancies,” said Muttreja. “Medicalhas become a proxy for married women from socially and economically less privileged households.”

Against 0.7 million reported annual abortions, India logged sales of 11 million units of popular medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol, according to this June 2016 report in Lancet, a global medical journal.

“Our analysis of the 2015-16 budget shows that 85% of the allocation was for sterilisation versus barely 1.5% for spacing and limiting methods,” said Muttreja.

So, millions of women needing abortions rely on pills—easily available over-the-counter or from health workers like auxiliary nurse midwives and accredited social health activists—and the advice of a neighbour or a pharmacist, instead of a doctor.

“Some of the women I see are so desperate to abort their pregnancies that they have taken the twice,” said Kusum Lata Agarwal, a government medical officer at Abu Road.

Avoiding pregnancies by making contraception widely available

A greater focus on spacing and limiting methods by making more contraception options available would help avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place and reduce reliance onpills, said Muttreja.

At present, Indians have a choice of five state-provisioned methods—condoms, combined oral pills, intrauterine devices, male and female sterilisation—and starting in March 2016 in Haryana, the first state to implement a new government directive, an injectable contraceptive.

“Research estimates that every new option added to this basket of choices will increase the modern rate by 8-12%,” said Muttreja. With the Indian prevalence rate at 52.4%–meaning a little more than half of Indian women, or their partner, are currently using at least one method of contraception–plenty of scope exists to increase the rate, which would, in turn, bode well for population control.

Hard-to-get devices leave women heavily dependent on surgical or medicalto eliminate unwanted pregnancies.

Surgical was legalised in India with the advent of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in 1971, marking a major step forward for Indian women. “Abortions by quacks were putting women at great risk,” said Suneeta Mittal, director and head, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.

Unhygienic, unsafe invasive procedures using sticks and concoctions, violent abdominal massages: Women in India have suffered all of this and more.

Until the legalisation of mifepristone and misoprostol in 2002, no more than 6% of primary health centres 31% of larger community health centres nationwide offered safe services. Now, women could pop in the privacy of their home.


Source: Ipas Development Foundation


eliminates the cost and risk surrounding hospital admission, anaesthesia and surgery; and it offers more privacy than a surgical abortion,” said Mangala Ramachandra, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru.

Privacy is important because there is a stigma associated with in urban and rural India.

The MTP Act, 1971, requires hospitals to identify women by numbers instead of their names to keep their identity confidential. “We strictly follow numeric identification, but some women still feel conscious about stepping into a hospital,” said Ramachandra.

In rural India, women may also opt for to “avoid being shamed in a hospital by insensitive government hospital nurses and doctors who play up the stigma surrounding abortion”, said Muttreja.

“Some women consult unregistered private providers of services because they offer greater confidentiality and are less judgemental than public health system professionals,” she said.

In September 2015, IndiaSpend reported how poor, women in rural India were compelled to pay for deliveries and post-delivery services at supposedly free public health centres.

The gap between unrecorded abortions and sales of medicines

The gap between recorded and estimated abortions based on sales suggests women are aborting foetuses, primarily female. India’s gender ratio in 2011 was 940 females for 1000 males.

Another concern is the health risk to women from terminating their pregnancies unaided at home. “More than half of all abortions in India continue to be unsafe,” said Vinoj Manning, executive director, Ipas Development Foundation, an advocacy. Among unsafe abortions, he counts home attempts as well as procedures by back-street quacks.

“Incomplete abortions have increased from around 30% to over 50% in the last five years, which shows the increase in unsuccessful home medical attempts,” he said.

Half the women who developed induced-abortion-related complications attempted to terminate their pregnancies at home, according to this 2012 study in Madhya Pradesh, published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

When a home attempt goes wrong, many women suffer and spend money needlessly because they approach providers who are not qualified to help: 95% of the women of the Madhya Pradesh study first sought care from one or more private doctors and chemists—only later did they go to a district hospital or medical college hospital equipped to take care of them.

Improve record-keeping to better track the use of medical abortion

One way to increase the count of abortions and track the use of medical is to improve record-keeping by doctors. Incomplete abortions or post-complications are currently outside the purview of the MTP Act, despite being common occurrences.

“About 97 of every 100 cases I see are married women who have taken at home,” said Agarwal. “They come to me for incomplete or for the management of post-complications.”

Two years ago, Agarwal was trained in conducting and recording abortions by the state with support from the Ipas Development Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation working with the public health system to strengthen women’s access to care. Since then, she maintains more records than the law currently requires.


About 97 of every 100 cases presenting to Kusum Lata Agarwal, a in a government health facility in Abu Road, are for incomplete or for the management of post complications. Some of the women she sees have consumed mifepristone and misoprostol–the abortion-inducing combination of pills–twice, out of sheer desperation to end their unwanted pregnancies.

“Prior to being trained in comprehensive care, I was assisting women visiting my facility for incomplete abortions but only showing such procedures as evacuations, not abortions,” she said. “Our seniors never checked our records. Now I record even incomplete abortions as abortions.”

Another way to control use of mifepristone and misoprostol is to make these available only through the government, but that would impinge on a woman’s right to end a pregnancy and could create new challenges for needy women, said experts.

“Supply should be restricted to government practitioners,” said Agarwal, but on the day this reporter visited the facility where she works, were out of stock.


Source: Ipas Development Foundation


Should the law be changed to allow abortions after 20 weeks?

Abortions are mostly being done for unwanted pregnancies, we said. Most such abortions typically occur in the 20-week timeframe of the MTP Act, 1971, said experts.

Under the Act, can be done up to 20 weeks, if “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the woman or [risk of] grave injury to her physical or mental health”.

is also allowed if substantial risk exists “that if the child born, would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped or incapable of survival”.

Current law attaches conditions to to protect female foetuses, “which is good”, said Mittal from Fortis.

Now, however, medical advances can create compelling situations for the of even wanted pregnancies beyond 20 weeks. That means the law must be revised.

“Advanced prenatal diagnostics allow many deformities and other medical conditions of the foetus to be identified—such as cardiac conditions, neural tube defects, genetic malformations, microcephaly, etc.—sometimes after the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks,” said Mittal. “So the law should be amended to allow women to end a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if the foetus is diagnosed with any serious deformity.”

is a better option than giving birth to a seriously handicapped child, she said, or facing the prospect of early neonatal death, even when the pregnancy was planned.

(IndiaSpend is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit) 

India lost 2.55 crore girls in two decades to infanticide:

 AMRITA MADHUKALYA | Thu, 3 Nov 2016-07:40am , New Delhi , DNA

Govt has been under-reporting numbers of missing girls, says ACHR

Just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi put girls at the centre stage at Haryana’s Golden Jubilee functions, pledging to save the girl child, comes a report revealing that India has lost 2.55 crore girls in the last two decades to female foeticide.

In other words, between 1991 and 2011, the country has been losing an average of over 13 lakh girls every year to infanticide owing to sex-determination tests. In comparison, the conviction rate in the cases of sex selection filed under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, was 1 in 1,23,755. These are some of the findings of a report on the Act to be released Thursday (today) by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).

The study, ‘The State of the PC&PNDT Act: India’s losing battle against female foeticide’, further reveals that between 1994 and 2014, only 2,266 cases of infanticide under Sections 315 and 316 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and 2,021 cases under the PCPNDT Act were filed. Between 1994 and 2014, only one in 12,614 cases were filed under the PCPNDT Act. Of these, there were convictions in only 206 cases, implying that the conviction rate was one in 1,23,755 cases. In 17 states and six Union Territories, not a single case was registered under the PCPNDT Act.

Of the 1,663 cases of foeticide registered between 2000 and 2015, as per NCRB data, Madhya Pradesh topped with 360 cases, followed by Rajasthan (255), Punjab (239), Maharashtra (155), Chhattisgarh (135) and Haryana (131).

The PCNPDT Act is one of the key Acts the Centre has promoted since it came to power. Yet, in a review meeting held a year after the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched, 42 of the worst districts saw a decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) . Of these, Dibang Valley (Arunachal Pradesh), Lakshadweep and Yanam (Puducherry), saw a steep decline in CSR of more than 200 points.

The report also says that the government under-reports the number of missing girls. It cites a report, ‘Children in India 2012 — A Statistical Appraisal’, to quote that increasingly declining sex ratio “led to the missing of nearly 3 million girl children compared to 2 million missing boy children in 2011, compared to 2001.”

“This is wrong on two counts. First, it does not take into account that the decadal growth of population – from 1.028 billion in 2001 to 1.21 billion in 2011 – which would have resulted in the birth of more girls between 2001 and 2011 in actual terms. Second, the Census is conducted every 10 years and the CSR covering 0-6 years of age excludes those in the 7-10 years of age group and indeed does not reflect the actual number of missing girls during the decade,” says the report.

The failure to implement the PCPNDT Act, the report states, is due to various factors. They include under-utilisation of funds, non-renewal of registration, non-maintenance of patient details, absence of regular inspection, lack of mapping and tracking of equipment. The report states that, as per the CAG report on the Act, under-utilisation of funds led to the allocation of only Rs 7.09 crore (35%) under the projected requirement of Rs 20.26 crore during 2010-14.

The CAG report also revealed that in Uttar Pradesh, the inspection of 100 ultrasound clinics revealed that 1,326 cases (68%) did not have registered medical practitioners, while the details of the procedure were not mentioned in 1,110 cases (57%).

Gujarat doctor, two aides held for sex selection

 JAIPUR: State’s Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PCPNDT) cell has arrested a doctor from Gujarat and his two aides in a decoy operation conducted in Gujarat and unearthed an inter-state racket involved in sex selection activities.

On a tip off, the cell planned a decoy operation. Its members persuaded a pregnant woman to act as a client and another woman as her relative. The aides were 28-year-old Madan Mali and 40-year-old Bhanwar Singh, both residents of Jalore district. They took the woman to Khedbrahma‘s Pragati Hospitalin Gujarat. The arrested docter was Ganesh Patel.

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