AIDWA Condemns AYUSH University VC’s Remark on Sex Selection


All India Democratic Women’s Association had demanded that a case should be registered against him and he should be removed by the government from his post.

Image for representational purpose only

CHANDIGARH: Vice-Chancellor of the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) University in Kurukshetra Dr Baldev Kumar Dhiman has triggered a controversy by claiming that Ayurveda can help in gender selection before conception. On this, All India Democratic Women’s Association had demanded that a case should be registered against him and he should be removed by the government from his post.

Speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Narad Muni, Dhiman said that ayurvedic medicine could give desired results. “ The ancient scripture clearly mentions that it is possible to select gender before pregnancy. But, one has to follow the instructions for two months for desired results,” he claimed.

Dhiman said that traditional alternative technique includes medication, dietary and physical regulations and meditation at the pre-conception stage.

Reacting sharply on the comments made by Dhiman, AIDWA has condemned the statement made by Dhiman, claiming that ayurveda can help in the selection of gender before conception. Not only does this display a completely unscientific mindset, it violates the PNDT Act which makes sex selection illegal, whether before or after conception. According to the Act it is also illegal to advertise or promote any method leading to sex selection.

It is reported that Shri Dhiman while speaking at a function made the astounding claim that ayurvedic medicine provides alternate techniques that can give desired results in choosing the sex of the baby even before conception. This apparently includes dietary and physical regulations, and the observance of appropriate instructions as laid down in the ancient scriptures. There is no doubt that the VC himself upholds pre conception techniques to obtain the “desired” results, referring thereby to the conception of a son. The deeply embedded RSS ideology that idealizes the male over the female child is blatantly exposed.

The release said that the views of Dhiman cannot be overlooked at a time when the BJP government in Haryana is claiming to have reduced the sex imbalance in the state through the effective implementation of the PcPNDT Act. It called for strict action against Dhiman for his “anti woman mindset and his violation of the law” and said that he must be removed from office immediately.

Janwadi Mahila Samiti’s State Secretary General Savita, President Shakuntala Jakhar, Treasurer Rajkumari Dahiya and Vice President Jagmati Sangwan jointly said that at a time when the BJP Government in Haryana is claiming to have reduced sex imbalance in the state through their effective implementation of the PNDT Act, and other measures, these views expressed by an esteemed vice chancellor cannot be taken lightly.

 

AIDWA demands strict action against Dhiman for his anti woman mind-set and his violation of the law. He must be removed from office immediately and a case should be registered against VC for violation of the PNDT Act, otherwise the movement against it will be launched, they claimed.

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Gender discrimination kills 239,000 girls in India each year, study finds


U.N: Perilous for some girls in India (2012) 03:48

(CNN)An estimated 239,000 girls under the age of five die in India each year due to neglectlinked to gender discrimination, a new study has found.

 

The figure, which amounts to 2.4 million deaths a decade, does not include pre-natal mortality rates.
“Gender-based discrimination towards girls doesn’t simply prevent them from being born, it may also precipitate the death of those who are born,” wrote the study’s co-researcher Christophe Guilmoto in the Lancet medical journal.
“Gender equity is not only about rights to education, employment or political representation. It is also about care, vaccination, and nutrition of girls, and ultimately survival,” added Guilmoto.
The report is the first to examine the number of avoidable deaths among girls under five in India at a district level, showing specific geographic patterns of avoidable female mortality across India’s 640 districts.
Avoidable or excess mortality is defined as the difference between observed and expected mortality rates.
To determine that figure for India, researchers used UN population data from 46 countries to calculate the difference between the expected morality rate for girls aged under five in areas of the world without gender discrimination and the reality inside India.
The researchers found that 29 out of 35 Indian states showed overall excess mortality in girls under five, and all Indian states and territories, apart from two, contained at least one district with excess mortality.
The average level of excess mortality in girls aged 0-4 in India between 2000-2005 was 18.5 per 1,000 live births, or close to a quarter of a million deaths a year.
“Around 22% of the overall mortality burden of females under five is therefore due to gender bias,” the study’s authors, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) a scientific institute based in Austria,said in a statement released Monday.
IIASA researchers found that the problem was most pronounced in northern India, where the four largest states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, accounted for two thirds of the total excess deaths of infant girls under five.
The study showed that the areas worse affected were typically in rural regions, with low levels of education, high population densities and high birth rates.
The study’s co-author Nandita Saikia, from the IIASA, said that the findings reinforced the need to address directly the issue of gender discrimination in addition to “encouraging social and economic development for its benefits on Indian women.”
The report suggests many of the deaths are at least partly due to unwanted female child bearing in a society that has a preference for sons.
“The sustained fertility decline currently observed in north India is likely to lead to a reduction in postnatal discrimination. Unless son preference diminishes, lower fertility, however, might bring about a rise in gender-biased sex selection,” said Saikia.
A preference for boys and the availability of sex-selective operations, although illegal in India, means there’s a gender gap of as many as 63 million girls.
As a result, India has one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world. For every 107 males born in India, there are 100 females. According to the World Health Organization the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 males for every 100 females.

New test sparks fear of massive rise in sex-selective abortions in India, China


The test can determine the gender of a baby in just eight weeks.
New gender test sparks fear of massive rise in sex-selective abortions in India, China. (Photo: Pixabay)

 New gender test sparks fear of massive rise in sex-selective abortions in India, China. (Photo: Pixabay)

A new pin-prick test has created a lot of controversy as it can help determine the gender of the baby in just eight weeks, the Daily Mail reported.

Scientists are concerned the test can give rise to sex-selective abortion, particularly in India and China where for cultural reasons boys are the more preferred sex.

 

There are close to 63 million fewer women in India, according to a recent government report. This is because many families are choosing to abort girl babies.

China also faces similar issues, where men outnumber women by almost 34 million. The one-child policy, experts believe contributed to the imbalance.

Brazilian researchers initially created the pin-prick test to improve on the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT). It is used to detect Down’s syndrome and other genetic conditions.

Experts fear pin-prick test “could fuel a ‘genocide’ of female babies”, the Daily Mail reported.

“Many pregnant women and couples find out the sex of their foetus simply so they can prepare for a baby of one sex or the other, or because they are curious, ” Hugh Whittall, director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, told the Daily Mail.

“However, revealing the sex of the foetus at such an early stage of pregnancy increases the risk of terminations on the basis of sex taking place.

“Given that there are few benefits to most pregnant women of finding out the sex of the fetus in the first few weeks of pregnancy, we believe that test providers should not be allowed to give out this kind of information.”

Sex Ratio At Birth Deteriorated Most In Gujarat: NITI Aayog


Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 of 21 large states, Gujarat records 53 points fall 

Between 2012-14 and 2013-15, the sex ratio at birth fell by 53 points in Gujarat, finds the NITI Aayog health index report.
Gender Inequality

Never mind the much-mythologised “Gujarat model” of development — the state has seen the sharpest decline in the sex ratio at birth (SRB) in the country, according to the NITI Aayog’s health index report “Healthy States, Progressive India ”.

The report not only ranks 21 large states on the overall health performance, but also records the state-wise performance of the states on individual health indicators.

The sex ratio at birth — or the number of girls born for every 1000 boys during a specific year — was recorded for the period between 2012-14 (base year) and 2013-15 (reference year).

The SRB “is an important indicator and reflects the extent to which there is reduction in the number of girl children born by sex-selective abortions,” as the report says.

Gujarat topped the ‘most deteriorated’ category — states that had the most alarming decrease in the SRB. In Gujarat, the sex ratio at birth fell from 907 to 854, a fall of 53 points.

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 6.47.00 PM.png

This was followed by Haryana, where the SRB fell from 866 to 831, a fall of 35 points. Rajasthan came in third with a fall of 32 points, from 893 to 861. Next was Uttarakhand, where the SRB fell from 871 to 844, a fall of 27 points.

In fact, 17 out of the 21 states recorded saw a dip in the sex ratio at birth — painting a grim picture of gender justice the country.

Only three states saw an improvement — with Punjab having the most improved sex ratio at birth, from 870 to 889, an improvement of 19 points.

Uttar Pradesh saw an increase of 10 points, from 869 to 879, while Bihar saw an improvement of 9 points, from 907 to 916. In Jammu & Kashmir, the SRB remained stagnant at 899.

Kerala continues to have the highest SRB, even though it saw a fall of 7 points, from 974 to 967, followed by Chhattisgarh that saw a decline of 12 points from 973 to 961.

“There is a clear need for States to effectively implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and take appropriate measures to promote the value of the girl child,” the report notes further.

Gujarat’s performance for one, however, should not be surprising.

A 2014 report of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2009-2014 showed what a mess the Gujarat government had made of implementing the PCPNDT Act.

The state also has the sixth worst child sex ratio for the 0-6 age group, with only 883 girls for every 1000 boys, as against an average of 927 for the country, according to the 2011 Census.

“The NITI Aayog report is more evidence that the so-called ‘Gujarat Model of development’ has led to an increase in inequity; in this case, gender inequity,” said Dr Amit Sengupta of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan to Newsclick. 

The report also shows that economic prosperity does not necessarily translate into social progressiveness, as evident from the fact that states like Punjab and Haryana, despite having a higher per capita income, have a worse sex ratio than Bihar, for example.

Sengupta agrees, “The results prove once again that social backwardness and poverty are not directly related. Gender justice does not come automatically with economic prosperity.”

India – 21 million parents did not want daughters – first national data


The number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons.

by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Updated: January 30, 2018 5:35 pm

sex ratio, unwanted girls, srlc, sex ratio of last child, male child preferance, daughters, sex selection, female feoticide, indian expressThe number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons. (AP Photo/Representational)

The Economic Survey presents the first ever estimate of the number of ‘unwanted’ girls in India — girls whose parents wanted a boy but had a girl instead — at 21 million. The number has been arrived at by looking at the sex ratio of the last child (SRLC) which is heavily male-skewed, indicating that parents keep having children until they get the desired number of sons.

The Survey points out that the huge number of ‘unwanted girls’ (in the 0-25 age group in the population currently) is a direct outcome of the ‘son meta preference’ where parents do not stop having children after having a daughter.

The idea is based on a bunch of papers published in 2017 by development economist Seema Jayachandran of Northwestern University. While the ‘son meta preference’ does not lead to sex-selective abortion, the Survey 21 million is the number of girls parents did not want: first such national data sums up Jayachandran’s paper to state that it is “detrimental to female children because it may lead to fewer resources devoted to them”.

Read | Thrust areas: Economic convergence, gender inequality, climate change

The biologically determined natural sex ratio at birth is 1.05 boy for every girl. The Survey points out that in India, the sex ratio of the last child is skewed towards male all throughout — for first-born, it is 1.82, 1.55 for second born, 1.65 for third child and so on.

sex ratio, unwanted girls, srlc, sex ratio of last child, male child preferance, daughters, sex selection, female feoticide, indian express

 

The report compares India’s heavily-skewed-in-favour-of-boys SRLC to that of Indonesia, where the sex ratio at birth is close to the biological ideal, irrespective of whether the last child is a boy or a girl.

The estimate on the notionally “unwanted girls” goes beyond the Amartya Sen framework of “missing women” (owing to sex selective abortion or girl children who die owing to deliberate neglect). Using Sen’s methodology of sex ratio difference, as devised in 1990, the Survey pegs the number of “missing women” as of 2014 at 63 million, an increase from the 37 million as per Sen’s estimate.

The sex ratio of last birth (females per hundred births) has merely changed from 39.5 per cent to 39 per cent between 2005-06 and 2015-16. It is among two of the 17 gender indicators used in the Survey that fails to show any decadal improvement with an increase in wealth — the other being the effect on women’s employment.

 

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the proportion of women who took up paid work has gone down from 36 per cent to 24 per cent, making India a glaring outlier in this respect. One of the main reasons for this continues to be the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work that falls on women, including looking after elders and children.

The Survey points out that following the implementation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, 1994, which outlawed sex selection, India has seen a relatively stable sex ratio at birth (SRB). The SRLC, as an indicator, points to the continued societal preferences for a male child.

The Survey looks at both SRB and SRLC to state that in Meghalaya, both indicators are close to the ideal benchmark. Likewise, Kerala does not seem to practise sex selective abortions as their SRB is close to the ideal benchmark but the son preference is evident in a skewed SRLC, while Punjab and Haryana, two of the richest states, have a highly skewed SRB and SRLC.

Using data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) and National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the Survey states that over the last 10-15 years, India’s performance has improved on 14 out of 17 indicators of women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes.

21 million is the number of girls parents did not want: first such national data

What’s wrong with India’s abortion laws?


GenderAnd Development: The tricky debate on Abortion: Where the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act conflicts with two other laws?

Nandini Rathi

 

This August, the denial of abortion to the 10-year-old rape survivor from Chandigarh by the Supreme Court made headlines, shocking the country and leaving the medical community split in opinion. While the young girl has been recuperating at home from her C-section delivery and from what could only have been mental and physical trauma, the onslaught of women and girls seeking permissions for late-term abortion to High Courts and the Supreme Court continues. On November 22, PTI reported that a 12-year old rape survivor from Khargone, Madhya Pradesh gave birth under C-section after her abortion plea was rejected by the High Court, citing her age and risk, earlier in September. This little girl’s pregnancy had been first discovered more than three months ago in August. While it was then just over 20 weeks, following the letter of law, abortion had been treated a foregone option and denied.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971 permits abortions after consultation with one doctor up to 12 weeks. Between 12 to 20 weeks, medical opinion of two doctors is required. Further, only a registered allopathic physician in a registered facility is authorised to conduct the procedure. Beyond the 20 weeks ceiling, exceptions are legally permissible only if continuation of pregnancy poses a threat to the mother’s life.

The 46-year-old law has been under fire from doctors and lawyers for failing to move ahead with the times. There are several issues. The gestational age limit of 20 weeks on abortions is today understood as arbitrary and grossly outdated by gynaecologists and obstetricians across the board. Rare foetal abnormalities can be detected via ultrasound only around this period and the mother is usually past the 20-week milestone by the time these can be confirmed. Further, the Act does not recognise a woman’s choice in asking for an abortion, as legally she remains at the disposal of a physician’s judgment even in the early stages of pregnancy.

THE INFLUX OF COURT PETITIONS 

While MTP Act itself does not direct anyone to approach the court for permission to terminate pregnancy post-20 weeks, the recent few years have seen a rush of court petitions seeking permission for abortion. Often these have been either rape survivors with unwanted pregnancies or couples who found out about foetal abnormalities that are either incompatible with survival or posed the risk of substantial handicap to the baby upon birth. The curious aspect is why these cases are suddenly coming to court with increasing frequency only now, despite the fact that the MTP law is unchanged, and issues of foetal abnormalities as well as rape-related unwanted pregnancies in minors are something doctors have always dealt with in professional capacity.

“If you ask any obstetrician in this country who has practised for 10-20 years, you will find that they have always terminated pregnancies of advanced [post 20 weeks] durations on obstetric and medical grounds,” says Dr. Nozer Sheriar, former Chairperson of the MTP Committee and secretary general at Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetrician Societies of India (FOGSI).

Advance prenatal diagnoses, which enable foetal abnormalities to be discovered typically between 20-24 weeks, became routine around two decades ago. Managing the aftermath was not considered by most gynaecologists as traditional MTPs. Until a few years ago, most gynaecologists all over the country were managing abnormal patient pregnancies, along with termination if needed by taking a medical call over the matter, after counselling the patient and with her written permission.

The gynaecologist/obstetrician of the patient maybe in the best position to make a medical decision based on risk, in some cases. But the Supreme Court and High Court judgments over the last few years have been inconsistent and ad-hoc on these matters; they have both permitted as well as turned down various women requesting abortions and hence now doctors are unsure about their decision-making territory. “Because of all these cases coming up, physicians are also confused as to whether to term them as MTPs or obstetric decisions. I think clarity is urgently needed in this matter,” says Dr. Jaydeep Tank, a Mumbai-based gynaecologist and obstetrician and Deputy Secretary General of FOGSI. He personally feels that such cases should not strictly fall under the MTP Act as they could interfere with the obstetrician’s decision making.

ABORTION LAW, ITS RUN-IN WITH POCSO

A pregnant minor, under the MTP Act, can legally receive an abortion with the consent of a legal guardian. Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, any sexual activity under the age of 18, even if consensual, comes under the scrutiny of law. Thus, if any adolescent goes to a doctor seeking any services related to reproductive health, including abortion, the doctor is mandatorily required to report that to the authorities. So while MTP Act regulations lay down a careful confidentiality procedure for the doctor to protect the identity of the abortion-seeking girl, POCSO on the other hand necessitates disclosure to the authorities. “A lot of 17-year-olds, who would have gone to a doctor because that would have been the right way to get an abortion, suddenly now think ‘if I go to the doctor, the police will be informed. So maybe I am better off somewhere else’,” Dr. Sheriar explains.

The situation has became more dire, after the Supreme Court last month got rid of the exception for child brides and increased the age of consent to 18, regardless of marital status. While the intention behind the POCSO provision is well meaning, an estimated 47 percent of women in India are still married under the age of 18 and hence considerable sexual activity does take place among minors. The conflict between the laws results in a collateral damage where adolescents may be forced to turn to unsafe abortions.

ABORTION LAW AND SEX DETERMINATION

Another law that trips doctors from performing genuine abortions is the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994 (PC-PNDT) which criminalises sex determination of the foetus during ultrasound. Often, law-enforcing authorities feel that if they indiscriminately crackdown on abortions in general, they will be able to prevent sex-selective ones and female foeticide, Dr. Tank explains.

With a lot of attention and pressure from authorities due to PC-PNDT, doctors are wary and not doing what they initially did with a clear conscience, says Dr. Sheriar. As one senior gynaecologist running a private hospital said, “Even though I have performed an abortion for a genuine reason, in case the aborted foetus turns out to be a female, who would want to get caught up in a cycle of giving explanations in government offices” or worse, risk having their establishment discredited over such an accusation.

Given the present circumstances, doctors feel that urgent clarifications are required on the matter because when providers of safe and legal abortions turn women away, the remaining gap is filled by unqualified persons and quacks. “Just because of a fear of misuse, creating no mechanism and giving no relief to genuine people is wrong,” says gynaecologist and health rights activist Dr. Nikhil Datar.

Only a handful of women–make it to the courts, where they currently face additional trauma due to delays of legal proceedings, all the while with a pregnancy that is steadily advancing. Asked what happens to all the other women and where they go, Dr. Datar says, “No one knows”.

IN COLD STORAGE: MTP ACT OF 2014

A historic abortion legislation like India’s MTP Act in the 70s ensured that only law and medical opinion, as opposed to any religious dogma, prevailed in matters of pregnancy terminations. It also necessitated the consent of the pregnant woman alone, assuming she was a major. But a progressive law alone did not guarantee access to safe abortions. 10 women die everyday in India due to unsafe abortions and many more suffer from complications as a result of it.

“The cases that have come to the courts and in the spotlight of media are in the direction of foetal abnormalities and rape pregnancies. But that is a very small percentage out of all women deprived of safe abortions,” says Vinoj Manning, Executive Director of Delhi based non-profit Ipas Development Foundation. Currently, 50 percent of all abortions performed in India are estimated to put women’s health and lives to undue risk and that is above all due to an acute shortage of trained providers. This is one of the issues that the MTP Act Amendment bill, proposed in 2014, aimed to solve by authorizing AYUSH doctors, trained nurses and auxiliary nurse-midwives (ANMs) – after mandatory training — for performing non-surgical abortions via pills. The bill is however in cold storage and not taken up by the parliament since October 2014.

In addition to the fact that a woman’s right to abortion is a necessary condition for her reproductive autonomy, there is also a dire need to keep the woman’s needs at the center from a public health perspective. As Dr. Suneeta Mittal, Director and HOD in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Fortis Medical Research Institute Gurgaon, who has worked in women’s healthcare for nearly 40 years, said in a recent panel discussion, “No legal barrier, no religious barrier, no administrative barrier and no political barrier can stop a woman from getting an abortion, if she decides not to continue [her pregnancy]. By refusing her, you are pushing her towards unsafe abortions”.

SOURCE-  Indian Express

Kingpin of a racket involved in sex determination activities arrested


Syed Intishab Ali| TNN |

Representative image. Representative image.
JAIPUR: Ravi Singh, who has base in 15 districts and in neighbouring states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya PradeshHaryana and Punjab arrested from Khetri of Jhunjhunu district on Monday on charge of having involvement in sex determination activities. Besides, a nurse from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh has also been arrested.

His modus operandi is quite unique. He has his agents who kept protecting him from the PCPNDT cell. The PCPNDT cell had tried to trap him in decoy operations at least six times but he escaped all the time. His gang had a portable sonography machine. PCPNDT cell officials said that he has gang members who have different works — one talks to the client, another brings the client to him. There are others who keep portable sonography machine and he himself remains vigilant and alert all the time. He never stays at a place for 10 minutes after conducting the sonography.

PCPNDT officials said that earlier also, he had been arrested twice but he continued conducting illegal sonography for sex determination of fetus. Officials said that he is 10th class fail but he knows how to conduct sonography. He had worked as a helper in a private hospital in Delhi and some other places where he learnt how to conduct sonography. But, whithin no time he has become kingpin of a gang involved in sex selection, the PCPNDT cell officials said.

State appropriate authority (PCPNDT) Navin Jain said, Ravi Singh is a resident of Singhana of Jhunjhunu district. He is active in 15 different districts and four neighbouring states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

The PCPNDT cell took help of Jhunjhunu district collector Dinesh Kumar and superintendent of police Manish Agarwal to nab him. He was arrested in a decoy operation conducted in Jhunjhunu district.

Besides, PCPNDT cell conducted a decoy operation in Hathras on Monday. They arrested a private hospital nurse who allegedly fooled her clients from Bharatpur, Dholpur and Alwar by saying that there is a female fetus in the womb of pregnant women. The PCPNDT officials said that she advises her clients to undergo feticide. But, in reality, she conducts general sonography and she herself does not know the sex of fetus. PCPNDT cell officials arrested owner of private hospital, who was absconding since August 2016 in Mathura. Officials said that in the hospital, a nurse was involved in sex determination activities.

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