“Safe and legal abortion is a woman’s right”

Over 250 activists and groups have protested against the recent suggestions by two MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly that “female foeticide” be treated as murder.

A letter sent to Speaker Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday, at the initiative of the Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS), a network of 22 organisations and over 16 individuals, expressed concern at the statements made by Pankaja Munde-Palve (BJP) and Jitendra Avhad (NCP) that female “foeticide” be treated as murder and culprits be booked for the offence of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The letter said that first of all abortion should not be referred to as foeticide, which had anti-abortion implications. Women had the right to decide when and whether or not they should bear and give birth to children. Making sex-selective abortions (wrongly referred to as “female foeticide”) a murder charge, would only increase illegal abortions and also make access to safe abortion difficult.

Safe and legal abortion is a woman’s right and abortion is legal in India. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP Act) spells out the conditions under which it can be carried out. Sex-selective abortion, however, amounts to discrimination against a particular sex, in most cases, female sex. Sex-selection in favour of the male child is a symptom of devaluation of female lives. It is important to remember that those who want to use abortion for elimination of the female foetus have to first determine the sex of the child. Rightly, it is this process of pre-natal selection which is a crime, and it is being regulated and monitored through the Preconception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) (PCPNDT) Act.

The letter said: “Unless we are able to deal with all those social and economic factors that are going into the culture of son-preference and daughter-aversion, the child sex ratio will go on plummeting. But the solution is not to curb the legal right to abortion. Rather the PCPNDT Act should be enforced, and clinics that offer prenatal sex testing should be weeded out.”

The letter condemned the demand to make abortion a crime and urged the government to stop using anti-abortion stand for curbing the plummeting child sex ratio. Checking pre-natal sex selection required the proper implementation of the PCPNDT Act and monitoring of sex-selective procedures by the government. It could not be achieved by introducing such draconian measures that curb women’s right to safe and legal abortion.

The letter was endorsed by the FASS, Mumbai; health activist Manisha Gupte of the MASUM, Pune; Vibhuti Patel, Head, Department of Economics, SNDT University, Mumbai; S. Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Mohan Rao, the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU, New Delhi; Chayanika Shah, researcher and activist, Mumbai; and Uma Chakravarty, historian.
MUMBAI, August 10, 2011

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Page not found « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)
  2. Trackback: Political Leaders in Mumbai ‘IGNORE’ sex selection « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)
  3. savedaughters19
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 17:06:59

    Beginning of December, a program aired on ABC 20/20 about India’s deadly secret. It was about 40 million girls who have vanished. All aborted before they could take their first breath. Their crime was that they were girls. As you know the gender ratios is India are terribly skewed about 914 girls per 1,000 boys. In Punjab it is about 833 girls per1,000 boys. Unfortunately this happens amongst the privileged and the educated also. The only woman who has brought cases against her in-laws and husband is Dr Mitu Khurana. Please watch her story and sign her petition for justice. Please give those 40 million girls silenced forever, a voice. Please forward this to as many friends as possible.



    After you sign the petition, there will be a request from the site for a donation. This donation is totally discretionary and does not in any way or form affect or benefit Dr Mitu Khurana. All she is asking for is your support (signing this petition) so that pressure can be put on the Indian authorities that the whole world is watching them in total disbelief as they make a young mother run around in vain for four years in search of justice.


  4. Trackback: Court tells Centre to clear stand on sex determination tests « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)
  5. Trackback: Haryana: Police registers case against Midwife under PCPNDT ACT « Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)

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