Sex selection in Indian community persists despite years spent in Canada


Study shows Punjabi mothers who already had 2 daughters, had 240 boys for every 100 girls

By Laura Glowacki, CBC News

Indian-born mothers in Ontario are more than two-times more likely to have boys than girls as their third child if they have already had two daughters, even after spending more than 10 years in Canada, a new study has found.

Indian-born mothers in Ontario are more than two-times more likely to have boys than girls as their third child if they have already had two daughters, even after spending more than 10 years in Canada, a new study has found. (The Associated Press)

Contrary to what researchers expected, the length of time Indian immigrants have lived in Canada has no effect whatsoever on the practice of sex selection in favour of boys.

The lead author of an upcoming study, Marcelo Urquia, said his team’s findings show Indian mothers are more than twice as likely to have a male third child, if a couple has already had two daughters.

“Families prefer to have boys rather than girls,” said Urquia, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. “Or, if they already have daughters, they want to have at least one male in the family.”

While Canadian-born women give birth to about 105 boys for every 100 girls, Urquia and his team from the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital, showed Punjabi-speaking mothers in Ontario, at their third birth, had 240 boys for every 100 girls.

“We expected that with longer exposure to Canada’s environment of greater gender equality, immigrants from India would progressively shift toward valuing daughters and sons more equally,” Urquia said. But it seems that’s not so.

Instead of finding a decrease, they actually found a slight increase in preference for boys.

For Punjabi-speaking Ontario women new to Canada, Urquia found they give birth to 213 boys to every 100 girls if they have already had two daughters, whereas mothers who have been in Canada for 10 years or more, including those raised in Canada, gave birth to 270 boys to every 100 girls.

Among Indian immigrants, the researchers found sex selection most common in the Punjabi-speaking community but it was also seen in women whose mother tongue was Hindi.

No choice for some moms: director

The new findings are based on 46,834 live births to Indian-born mothers who gave birth in Ontario hospitals between 1993 and 2014 and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

Sex selection with preferences for boys happens across the country, Urquia said.

“But we don’t really understand why this is still happening in Canada.”

The data were especially puzzling to Urquia and his colleagues because other health trends do change after immigrants live in Canada for years. For example, Indian women who abstained from drinking in India tend to begin consuming alcohol after living in Canada, said Urquia. Also, Indian immigrants tend to become more sedentary when they move to Canada and obesity rates, not surprisingly, rise.

“We don’t have a proper explanation,” he said of the preference for boys. “We really don’t know why this is happening.”

Kripa Sekhar, executive director of the South Asian Women’s Centre in Toronto, said findings by Urquia and his colleagues confirmed what her organization has seen and heard from women for years.

Her organization was one of a handful consulted as part of the new research into sex selection.

“I’m not saying this happens across the board but definitely among more traditional, South Asian families there appears to be a desire to have a male child,” Sekhar said.

Some of the potential reasons mothers abort female daughters can be traced to both cultural and economic reasons, she said.

Traditionally, sons take care of elderly parents and their families also receive dowries in marriages, so the birth of a boy is a joyous occasion, Sekhar said, especially for traditional families.

“I think it comes down from traditions of patriarchy,” she said.​ “It’s very sad … Because she’s under pressure to have that male child, she actually in many ways has no choice.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/sex-selection-indian-community-1.4083853

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More than 100 Activists condemn PAC recommendation of compulsory sex determination tests


 PAC REPORT

Mumbai – We the undersigned representatives of women’s and health rights organizations strongly condemn the recommendations of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly making pre-natal sex determination and tracking of pregnant women mandatory to prevent  sex selection.

These recommendations are grossly violative of the PcPNDT Act itself, and will impinge upon the MTP Act as well. It is ironical that such a recommendation is being made in Maharashtra, which pioneered the law to curb sex selection after a long campaign by women and health activists that linked the use of sex-selection and sex-detection technologies to gender based discrimination and thereafter to  the declining child sex ratio in India .

It is shocking that the proposal is being mooted at a time when yet another racket of sex selection has recently come to light in Mhaisal, Sangli, which clearly exposes the nexus between unscrupulous medical professionals and corrupt government health officials in allowing illegal sex determination to proliferate in the state.

It is quite clear that such a proposal is intended to absolve doctors and to shift the burden to the shoulders of pregnant women. The 2003 amendments to the 1994 PcPNDT Act recognized the lack of autonomy faced by women and had specifically kept the pregnant woman out of the ambit of the Act. This new proposal will only result in a twenty-four hour surveillance of pregnant women both within the family and by the state authorities. It will unnecessarily target every woman bearing a female foetus, and will link any abortion that such a woman has (for any reason) to sex selection. This will adversely impact women’s already poor access to safe abortion.  It will fuel a proliferation of illegal facilities for getting rid of unwanted female foetuses.

PAC suggestions of  surveillance is violation of our fundamental right to privacy and victimization of the woman when the focus of surveillance should be providers who are the key link to practice of sex determination and sex selection.

We demand that the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly rejects the recommendations of the PAC. We also demand stringent implementation of the present Act, which has clearly acted as a deterrent wherever it has been used effectively.

गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीचे करण्याची अजब शिफारस करणाऱ्या लोकलेखा समितीचा कडक निषेध

लोकलेखा समितीने महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेला सादर केलेल्या आपल्या अहवालात राज्यात लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीची करून सर्व गरोदर महिलांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची अजब शिफारस केली आहे, त्याचा आम्ही खाली सही करणाऱ्या महिला व आरोग्य हक्क संघटना तीव्र निषेध करीत आहोत.

मुळात अशी शिफारस लिंग निदान प्रतिबंधक (पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी.) कायद्याचे घोर उल्लंघन करणारी असून, गर्भपाताशी संबंधित एम.टी.पी. कायद्यावर देखील त्याचे विपरीत परिणाम होतील. स्त्रियांशी टोकाचा भेदभाव करणारी लिंगनिदानाची पद्धत आणि त्यासाठी वापरण्यात येणाऱ्या तंत्रज्ञानामुळे भारतात ०-६ वर्ष वयोगटातील मुलींचे प्रमाण कसे घटत आहे, ह्या गंभीर मुद्द्याकडे प्रथम महाराष्ट्रातील महिला आणि आरोग्य हक्क कार्यकर्त्यांनी लक्ष वेधले. त्यांनी दीर्घ काळ चालवलेल्या मोहिमेचा परिणाम म्हणून महाराष्ट्रात प्रथम लिंग-निवड प्रतिबंधात्मक कायदा मंजूर झाला, ह्याचा विसर लोकलेख समितीला पडलेला दिसतो.

म्हैसाळ (सांगली) आणि नाशिक शहरात अलीकडेच उजेडास आलेल्या बेकायदेशीर लिंग निदानाच्या प्रकरणातून अप्रामाणिक वैदकीय व्यावसायिक आणि भ्रष्ट सरकारी अधिकारी ह्यांच्यातल्या संगनमताने राज्यात बेकायदेशीर लिंगचाचणीची केंद्र कशीं फोफावली आहेत, हे समोर आलेले असताना, अशी शिफारस करणे अधिक धक्कादायक आहे.

प्रत्यक्षात लिंग निदान करणाऱ्या डॉक्टरांना सुट देऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीवर सर्व जबाबदारी टाकण्याचा हा निषेधार्य प्रकार आहे. १९९४च्या लिंग निवड प्रतिबंधक कायद्यात २००३ मध्ये सुधारणा करताना स्त्रियांना निर्णय स्वातंत्र्य नसल्याची वस्तुस्थिती लक्षात घेऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीला कायद्याच्या कक्षेतून काढले होते. ह्या नव्या प्रस्तावामुळे गरोदर स्त्री वर कुटुंबांतर्गत आणि शासकीय पातळीवरची चोवीस तासांची पाळत सहन करावी लागेल. स्त्री-गर्भ असलेल्या प्रत्येक गरोदर महिलेला विनाकारण लक्ष्य बनवून, तिने कोणत्याही कारणास्तव गर्भपात करून घेतला तरी त्याचा संबंध लिंग निदानाशी जोडला जाईल. स्त्रियांना अगोदरच सुरक्षित गर्भपाताची सेवा मिळणे अवघड झाले असताना, नको असलेले स्त्री गर्भ नष्ट करणारी एक बेकायदेशीर यंत्रणाच ह्यामुळे फोफावणार आहे.

अशा पद्धतीने स्त्रियांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची ही लोकलेखा समितीची शिफारस स्त्रियांच्या खाजगी आयुष्यात हस्तक्षेप करणारी आणि मुलभूत अधिकारांवर घाला घालणारी आहे. उलट बेकायदेशीर  पद्धतीने लिंग निदान आणि लिंग निवड करणारी केंद्र चालवणाऱ्यांवर सरकारने पाळत ठेवून त्यांचे उच्चाटन करण्याची आवश्यकता आहे.

महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेने लोकलेखा समितीच्या ह्या शिफारशीला स्पष्ट नकार द्यावा अशी  मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत. जिथे पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी. कायद्याचा प्रभावी उपयोग केला गेला, तिथे लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी मदत झाली असा आजपर्यंतचा अनुभव असून, कायद्याची महाराष्ट्रात कडक अंमलबजावणी करावी अशी मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत.

Endorsed

Organziations 

Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS)

Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA)

Mahila Sarvgrameen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM)

Forum for Medical Ethics Society

Forum Against Oppression of Women  (FAOW)

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan- Mumbai

National Allaince of Materal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR)

Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group

LABIA –  A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Bombay

Maharashtra Mahila Arogya Hakka Parishad

 National Alliance of People’s Movements– (NAPM)
Point of View, Mumbai

SAMYAK, Pune

CEHAT, Mumbai

Sruti Disability Rights Centee

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

Individuals

  1. Kamayani Bali Mahabal,  (FASS)
  2. Kiran Moghe , (AIDWA)
  3. Sonya Gill, (AIDWA)
  4. Ravi Duggal, Health activist
  5. Manisha Gupte ,  Women and Health activist
  6. Adv Indira Jaising, Lawyers Collective
  7. Lakshmi Menon . Womens Health Movement
  8. Brinelle D’souza – Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  9. Farah Naqvi, Writer & Activist, Delhi
  10. Dr B Ekbal ,  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Kerala
  11. Dr. Nizara Hazarika , Associate Professor, Sonapur College,Assam
  12. Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, TN
  13. Sunita Bandewar, FMES and IJME
  14. Amulya Nidhi , .Health Activist Madhya Pradesh
  15. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor and researcher
  16. Saswati Ghosh, Associate Professor and hod, Economics, City College (under Calcutta University)
  17. Nisha Biswas
  18. Abha Bhaiya
  19. Nivedita Menon, JNU
  20. Dyuti
  21. Johanna Lokhande
  22. Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development
  23. Ulka Mahajan,  Social activist
  24. Mary E. John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS)
  25. Virginia Saldanha, Indian Christian Women’s Movement,
    Manak Matiyani (Executive Director)- YP Foundation
  26. Vinita Sahasranaman (Director of Programs and Advocacy)- YP Foundation
  27. Souvik Pyne (Advocacy Officer)m YP foundation
  28. Nandita Shah, Akshara
  29. Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  30. Dr Kamaxi Bhate, FASS
  31. Adv Manisha Tulpule
  32. Rashmi Divekar
  33. Urmila Salunkhe, Akshara
  34. Prasanna Invally, Pune
  35. Kalpana mehta. Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore
  36. Chayanika Shah- LABIA
  37. Anagha Sarpotdar
  38. Chhaya Datar
  39. Bishakha Dutta , Point of View
  40. Meena Seshu, Sangram
  41. Hema Pisal, MASUM
  42. Anand Pawar, SAMYAK
  43. Ravindra R P – Member, Drafting Committees (Mah. PNDT Act, PNDT Act, PCPNDT Act)
  44. Jaya Menon, Women Networking
  45. Sanober Keshwaar
  46. Vijay Hiremath
  47. Shalini Mahajan, LABIA
  48. Rohini Hensman, writer and activist
  49. Lubna Duggal , Forum for Medical Ethics Society
  50. Narendra  Gupta, Prayas
  51. Aapurv Jain, Gender rights activist
  52. Burnad Fatima- SRED
  53.  Sandhya Gautam, NAMHHR
  54. Jashodhara Dasgupta – Sahayog
  55. Sarojini – Sama
  56. Leni Chaudhuri, JSA
  57. Anuradha Pati
  58. Anita Ghai –  Feminsit  and Disbaility Rights Activist
  59. Ritambhara, Nazariya
  60. Preet Manjusha, SAMYAK
  61. Neeraj Malik
  62. Sejal Dand, ANANDI
  63. E.Premadas- CHSJ
  64. Suhas Kolhekar- NAPM
  65. Sitaram Shelar
  66. Sneha Giridhari, SWISSAID, India
  67. Sapana, BGVS
  68. Brinda Bose, JNU
  69. Reena Martins, Mumbai
  70. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective
  71. Pouru Wadia, SNEHA
  72. Vibhuti Patel, SNDT
  73. Kajal Jain,MASUM,Pune
  74. Mohan Rao, JNU
  75. Suneeta Dhar, activist
  76. Vasavi Kiro
  77. Abhijit Das,CHSJ
  78. Vivekanand Ojha
  79. Jaya Sagade , activist
  80. Ujwala kadrekar
  81. Uma V Chandru, WSS
  82. Archana More ,Karve Institute of Social Work
  83. Pradnya Shende
  84. Shakuntala Bhalerao, JSA
  85. Shubhangi Deshpande
  86. Vrinda Grover
  87. Subhash Mendhapurkar, SUTRA
  88. Manmohan Sharma,  health activist
  89. Noorjehan  Safia Niaz, BMMA
  90. Dolphy D’souza, Convenor, Police Reforms Watch
  91. Adv Vijay Hiremath
  92.  Nita Shirali, activist
  93. Saumya Uma
  94. Sugandhi Francis
  95. Snehal
  96. Kranti
  97. Yasmeen, awwaze- niswan
  98. Aruna Burte
  99. Shobha, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  100. Mukta Srivastava, NAPM
  101. Milind Ranade
  102. Prof. Ujwala Masdekar, faculty of Karve Institute of social service
  103. Panchali Ray. Jadavpur University. Kolkata.
  104. Sonal Shukla, Vacha
  105. Naureen, SNEHA
  106. Richa Minocha , Simla
  107. Jeevika Shiv, ANANDI
  108. Radhika Desai, Hyderabad
  109. Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM
  110. Rimple Mehta
  111. Ayesha Kidwai
  112. Runu Roy

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


SMILEGIRL1

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.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/despite-skewed-sex-ratio-conviction-for-female-foeticide-rare-115051000106_1.html

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.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/modi-s-shaky-race-to-save-india-s-girls-special-to-ians-115052300256_1.html

 

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


To

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 http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176072

India

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.

AIDWA
Akshara
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


contact–fassindia2011@gmail.com

 

 

7th  June, 2012

To,
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)

3 JUN, 2012, SAIRA KURUP,TNN

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)

SC- Consent of husband not needed for abortion


Supreme Court upholds woman’s right to abort

Dhananjay Mahapatra| TNN | U

Representative photographRepresentative photograph
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a man’s petition seeking damages from his estranged wife for undergoing abortion without his consent, and ruled that an adult woman had an unimpeachable right to give birth or terminate pregnancy.

Terming the abortion, to which he had objected, “illegal”, the husband had also demanded compensation from the woman’s parents and brother, and two doctors. The Punjab and Haryana high court had dismissed the husband’s plea saying termination of pregnancy was the sole prerogative of the woman .

An SC bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud upheld the decision of the HC, which had said, ” Keeping in view the strained relations between the husband and wife, the wife’s decision to terminate the unwanted fetus was right. The termination of pregnancy had not soured the relations between the two… So, keeping in view the legal position, it is held that no express or implied consent of the husband is required for getting pregnancy terminated under the (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act.”

The CJI-headed bench further fortified the HC ruling by adding, “She is a mother and an adult who says she did not want the pregnancy. How can she or others be made liable for it? Even a mentally challenged woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy. How can parents and doctors be made liable?”

The couple got married in 1994 and had a son in 1995. Due to discord, the wife and son had been staying with her parents in Chandigarh since 1999. During pendency of the wife’s petition seeking maintenance, the Lok Adalat in Chandigarh had mediated, and persuaded the couple to live together in the husband’s house in Panipat.

In November 2002, they started living together and in January 2003 discovered that she was pregnant. As the relationship showed no signs of improvement, the woman wanted to terminate the “unwanted” pregnancy. The man objected. She contacted her parents, who took her to Chandigarh. The husband refused to sign the hospital papers for medical termination of pregnancy but the woman went ahead with the abortion at a Chandigarh hospital.

The man filed a civil suit against his wife, her parents and brothe r, and the doctors for recovery of Rs 30 lakh towards damages on account of mental pain, agony and harassment. He argued that the termination of pregnancy without any medical need and without the consent of the unborn child’s father was illegal under the MTP Act.

The doctors appealed against this in the Punjab and Haryana HC, which dismiss ed the suit before the trial court. The HC said, “This is a most unfortunate case where a husband has brought privileged acts… of husband and wife in the court.”

” If the wife has consented to matrimonial sex… it does not mean that she has consented to conceive a child,” the HC said, “It is the free will of the wife to give birth to a child or not. The husband cannot compel her to conceive and give birth to his child…”

“The woman is not a machine in which raw material is put and a finished product comes out. She should be mentally prepared… to give birth to a child. Unwanted pregnancy would… affect the mental health of the… woman.”

The HC had ordered the husband to pay a cost of Rs 25,000 to each respondent.

5 Things About Abortion That No One Tells Young Women In India


Posted by Kirrat Sachdeva
As a 25-year old unmarried woman, the amount of unsolicited advice that I receive about my ‘dying ovaries’ is bizarre and amusing. This amusement takes a backseat when you realise that the ‘golden advice’ comes from a the deep-seeded view – women can only exist as ‘mothers’ and ‘wives’. Anything that may remotely enlighten you about your right and autonomy over your body is ALWAYS shushed! The result? Instead of knowing about your rights over your own body, you have a whole lot of stigma that clouds your access to your rights. What makes it worse is that irrespective of whether you’re married or in a relationship, your sexual and reproductive health is everyone’s agenda, but yours.

Addressing this inaccess to information, CREA and Global Health Strategies ran a week long campaign (from 22nd to 29th September) on YKA, sharing some crucial information abortion as a reproductive health right. It led to some important conversation being generated around September 28, Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. The campaign highlighted 5 critical things that every person must know (but is not told) to not only demand their right, but also fight the stigma associated with women’s reproductive health and right. All the below infographics are sourced from CREA.

1. You have to petition a court if you need an abortion above the limit of 20 weeks.

Yup, this is true even in cases of rape, incest, and prenatal screenings that show anomalies of the foetus after 20 weeks. In India, a lot of survivors of sexual assault don’t come forward due to the intense shame and stigma. This is one of the prime reasons many women have been petitioning to increase the legal limit to 24 weeks. It’s a shame that thousands have to suffer because the court tells them what’s right to do with their body, and what isn’t. But recent judgements show a brighter future.


2. More than half of the abortions that take place in India are unsafe

When it comes to abortion statistics, it’s a shocking picture. We are never told about the safety precautions we need to take and the questions we have the right to ask doctors. Even though abortion is a crucial reproductive health right, how many of these stats make national news?


3. Women above 18 years of age do not require their partner’s consent to get an abortion.

“But how could you just go ahead and do it?” is a question many women are asked. However, no one talks about how, for adult women, the law protects our right to our body and what we choose. This useful infographic has more on grounds to seek an abortion, and the requirements needed to provide an abortion.


4. A severe gynaec and provider shortage is limiting access to safe abortion

In 2010, the government developed the Training and Service Delivery Guidelines for Comprehensive Abortion Care. But due to obsolete methods and severe shortage in providers, many women suffer when it comes to seeking safe abortions. From counselling to the post-abortion stages, women need support at every stage. If we don’t have enough trained professionals, how can we ensure every woman gets access to this right without hindrance?


5. In the last 9 months alone, 11 cases have gone to court regarding abortion after 20 weeks

These cases prove that the conversation around increasing the legal limit to seek an abortion must be amplified. Like the SC said in July 2017, “A woman has the sacrosanct right to her bodily integrity and it is her choice.” 


Share this crucial information ahead using #AbortTheStigma. And if you have a story around why the silence around abortion must be broken, YKA is your safe space to speak up. Publish here today. 

Himachal HC allows rape survivor to abort 32-week fetus


Anand Bodh| TNN |

Representative ImageRepresentative Image
SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh high court has allowed abortion of a 32-week-old fetus of a 19-year-old rape survivor, who has mild to moderate mental retardation.

A division bench of Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary and Justice Vivek Singh Thakur directed the medical superintendent of Kamla Nehru Hospital in Shimla to arrange for termination of the teenager’s pregnancy under supervision of a medical board constituted by the court.

The law allows medical abortion till 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless mother’s life is at risk. The Supreme Court had in July denied permission to a 10-year-old rape survivor to terminate her 32-week pregnancy, but had recently made exception and allowed abortion at 24 weeks due to life threatening condition.

The bench also directed the hospital to preserve the DNA of the fetus so that it could be used during the course of investigation, inquiry and trial in the rape case registered in Kullu district.

On October 6, the court had directed that the petitioner be examined by a medical board, comprising at least five doctors and headed by head of the department of gynaecology of any of the state-level hospitals.

Aligarh: Two BJP MLAs rush in to prevent arrest of doctors ‘caught’ doing sex-determination test


The MLAs allegedly did not allow Rajasthan officials to seize the ultrasound machine or pick up the accused doctors and left the local Kwarsi police station only when the doctor was let go.

Officials, including the Aligarh District Magistrate, kept trying to convince the MLAs to let the Rajasthan team do their job but they did not relent, sources said.

A doctor couple in Aligarh, caught allegedly conducting illegal pre-natal sex-determination tests on a pregnant woman who was a decoy planted by the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) cell of the Rajasthan government could not be taken into custody after alleged “interference” by two local BJP MLAs, Sanjeev Raja and Anil Parashar, late last night.

The MLAs allegedly did not allow Rajasthan officials to seize the ultrasound machine or pick up the accused doctors and left the local Kwarsi police station only when the doctor was let go. Officials, including the Aligarh District Magistrate, kept trying to convince the MLAs to let the Rajasthan team do their job but they did not relent, sources said.

The Rajasthan team had caught Dr Jayant Sharma and his wife conducting the sex determination test in their Jeevan Nursing Home on Monday evening. The woman reportedly escaped from the hospital. Local police brought Sharma with the seized ultrasound machine to the police station.

The MLAs, too, reached the police station and along with SP City, City Magistrate and other officials, sat there until 2 am.

Confirming this, District Magistrate of Aligarh Rishikesh Bhaskar Yashod told The Indian Express: “We apprised senior officers in the government regarding the local public representatives interfering in the legal matter. We tried to convince the MLAs to allow the legal procedure but they refused to listen.”

Yashod said that Rajasthan officials sought help from him and he sent a magistrate-rank officer with them. “They caught the doctor couple doing the test red-handed,” Yashod said.

Sharma denied the allegations. “The team from Rajasthan forcibly entered the hospital and sealed the ultrasound machine and the DVR (digital video recorder).

Nothing illegal happened and public representatives reached after hearing about the matter. I was let go from the police station around 2 am and no action was initiated against me…I am a surgeon and the owner of the hospital while my wife is a gynaecologist.”

When contacted, Naveen Jain, IAS, and Appropriate Authority of PCPNDT Cell in Rajasthan, told The Indian Express that a team led by a circle inspector of police and a coordinator from the cell had gone to Aligarh for the operation. But they could not complete it due to the “trouble” created there.

SSP Aligarh, Rajesh Kumar Pandey, said that the ultrasound machine has been sealed.

BJP MLA from Kol constituency, Anil Parashar said: “We (he and MLA Sanjeev Raja) reached the police station to ensure that the doctor is not framed in a false case. The Rajasthan team already had sealed the ultrasound machine and the DVR and they should have first probed if the test was conducted. How could they arrest the doctor?” He added: “Dr Jayant Sharma’s father was a teacher and also a top leader of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh as well.”

BJP MLA Sanjeev Raja, when contacted, said: “No such (sex-determination test) action had ever been initiated in Aligarh so far and we won’t allow such thing happen here. Now only the court will decide the action.”

When told that Yogi Aditynath Government had started a scheme to trap doctors involved in sex-determination tests, Raja replied: “If any body has a government order regarding any such act, he should show it.”

Naveen Jain said today that his team would procure an arrest warrant against the doctors. Three middlemen, including two from Aligarh who allegedly played a role in getting the test done, were arrested and will be produced in court tomorrow, he added.

Aligarh: Two BJP MLAs rush in to prevent arrest of doctors ‘caught’ doing sex-determination test

SC allows two rape victims to abort, orders preservation of fetus for DNA test to help nail accused


TNN |

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The bench directed preservation of the terminated fetus for DNA sampling during the investigation
  • SC medical expense of process of termination of pregnancy would be borne by the respective states

Representative photoRepresentative photo

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted two minor girls to terminate their pregnancies caused by rapes and added a new dimension by ordering preservation of the foetuses to help nail the accused during the sexual assault case trial.

One is a 13-year-old from Delhi and another a 17-year-old from Bengaluru and both are rape survivors. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar ordered termination of their pregnancies, which were beyond the permissible period of 20 weeks under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

The Delhi girl will undergo the MTP in AIIMS on Friday and the Bengaluru girl will terminate her pregnancy in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI). The court directed AIIMS and the Karnataka government to bear the expense of the medical procedures required for termination of the pregnancies and food and medicines required by the girls.

Counsel in the two cases — Nikhil Nayyar and Divyesh Pratap Singh — requested the court that since both the pregnancies were caused by sexual assault, it would be helpful if the aborted foetuses were preserved for DNA test to assist the prosecution in nailing the guilt of the accused.

SC passed the orders after medical boards in AIIMS and BMCRI recommendation.

SC allows 13-year-old rape survivor to abort her 32-week-old foetus


 
The minor girl’s mother had moved the apex court seeking its permission to terminate the pregnancy of her daughter.
 (Photo: PTI/File)

  (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a 13-year-old rape victim to terminate her 32-week-old pregnancy.

In the last hearing, a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao directed that a medical board would be constituted at Mumbai-based Sir JJ Group of Hospitals to examine the minor girl and ascertain the condition and advisability of permitting abortion.

Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The minor girl’s mother, through advocate Sneha Mukharjee, had moved the apex court seeking its permission to terminate the pregnancy of her daughter.

Earlier, on July 28, the top court had rejected a petition, on medical grounds, filed by another 10-year-old rape victim, who sought permission to terminate her 32-week-old pregnancy. The minor girl had recently delivered a child in Chandigarh.

 

The court’s order had come after taking note of a medical report that abortion would neither be good for the girl, nor for the foetus. The minor girl had recently delivered a child in Chandigarh.http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/060917/sc-allows-13-year-old-rape-survivor-to-abort-her-31-week-old-foetus.html

SC allows Pune woman to abort 25-week foetus


 
 

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a Pune based pregnant woman, who is in her 25th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus with abnormalities.

 
Supreme Court of India

“Keeping in view, the report of the medical board, we are inclined to allow the prayer and direct medical termination of pregnancy of petitioner ,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a Pune-based woman to terminate her pregnancy on a medical report that the 26-week-old foetus was without a skull and would not be able to survive.

The apex court noted that the report submitted by a medical board clearly suggested that there was no point in allowing the pregnancy to run its full course and it could pose severe mental injury to the 26-year-old woman.

The medical board of Mumbai-based Sir JJ Hospital, where the woman was examined in pursuance to the court’s order, said she wanted to terminate the pregnancy as the foetus was not likely to survive and it was causing immense mental agony to her.

“We consider it appropriate in the interest of justice and particularly, to permit the petitioner (woman) to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy under the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971,” a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said.

“The condition of the foetus is not compatible with life. The medical evidence clearly suggests that there is no point in allowing the pregnancy to run its full course since the foetus would not be able to survive outside the uterus without a skull,” the bench noted in its order.

The court was also informed that the woman understands that her foetus was abnormal and the risk of foetal mortality was high.

It directed that the termination of pregnancy would be performed by the doctors of the hospital where she underwent a medical check-up.

The woman had moved the court for permission to terminate her pregnancy. Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Earlier, a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao had directed setting up of medical boards to examine their health condition and that of the foetus. The court directed the boards to file their reports by August 9 with their opinion on whether the petitioners could be allowed to terminate their 25-week-old pregnancies.

The woman and her husband had approached the apex court seeking permission to abort the foetus.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, permits abortion till the fetus is 20 weeks’ old. Although the Centre had initiated the process to amend the Act in 2014, it is still awaiting cabinet nod. The proposed bill intends to extend the permissible period for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks if the pregnancy involves a substantial risk to the mother or child. The amendment also allows to do away with the time limit for abortion in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities.

On 3 July, the SC allowed a woman from Kolkata to abort her 26-weeks pregnancy. The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and M Khanwilkar ruled in favour of the woman and said that the abortion should be carried out ‘forthwith’.

There has been an increase in abortion pleas filed in the apex court since April last year when it had allowed a 14-year-old rape survivor from Ahmedabad to abort her 24-week-old foetus. Most of the cases related to abnormalities in foetuses which were detected after 20 weeks. So far the court has adjudicated on six such cases, allowing abortion in three of them.

OneIndia News

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