Maharashtra- Women Activists ask govt not to mix sex selection and abortion

PUNE: Activists have demanded that the state government and social originations working in save girl child campaign should not insist on an amendment to the existing anti-sex selection laws and invoke murder charges against persons involved in sex selection.

The demand is gaining momentum in parts of the state and activists fear worse consequences of the same.

The Indian MTP Act allows abortion by a registered medical practitioner, where the duration of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks or 20 weeks (the latter if not less than two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that continuance of the pregnancy would risk the pregnant woman‘s life or may cause a grave injury to her physical or mental health; or there is a substantial risk to her health if the child were born).

“This will deprive women of their right to abortion, which is unacceptable. There should be continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centres, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centres. But this does not mean that safe abortion should not be allowed” said activists working in western Maharashtra region.

“According to the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, sex selection itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions of 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,” said a protest letter signed by organizations such as stree mukti sanghatana, Forum against sex election, akshara, All India Democratic Women’s Association,  among others.

Activists say that by mooting murder charges against people found involved in sex selection , the state seems to be mixing issues relating to sex-selection (Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act) and abortion ( Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act)


Save the girl child: PMC nod to fixed deposit scheme

Express news service : Pune, Sat Jul 13 2013,

To check sex selection,  the women and child welfare committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday approved a proposal seeking financial assistance to every girl child born in a poor family under the civic jurisdiction from April this year.As per the proposal, the civic body would make a fixed deposit of Rs 30,000 in the name of the girl child born in a family having income less than Rs 1 lakh. The girl can withdraw the money which will amount to Rs 2.4 lakh after interest, when she is 18 and provided she is unmarried.

The civic body will contribute Rs 20,000 while the parents will have to give Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme. The scheme would be eligible for citizens under the civic jurisdiction and up to two child per family.

“The committee will also contribute Rs 40,000 for a girl child if her parents decide to have only one child. In such cases, the parents need not contribute Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme,” said Varsha Marathe, chairperson of women and child welfare committee.

As many as 50,000 births take place every year in PMC. There are 938 female births for every 1,000 male births. This means 24,200 female births a year take place in the city.

If the civic body decides to include all of them in the scheme then the civic body would need a whopping Rs 48.27 crore. The scheme has a provision of merely Rs 5 crore and can be availed by beneficiaries who fulfill the criteria.

Civic body proposes to double scholarship of sportsmen

The PMC administration has proposed to double the scholarship given to sportsmen representing at district, state, national and international level. After the sports policy was approved last year, the civic body had made provision of Rs 25,000 for sportsmen from city representing at national and international level and Rs 15,000 for sportsmen representing the district.

PMC mounts vigil to keep monsoon diseases at bay

With the city having buckled under a volley of diseases during the last monsoon, particularly dengue, the civic authorities this year are mounting vigilance in advance to keep monsoon-related diseases at bay. Though swine flu claimed several lives, dengue and malaria attacked people with twin viral.

According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) monthly communicable disease report, 148 dengue cases, including five deaths, have been reported since January this year. Around 15 cases were reported in May and 36 in June, the report said.

As many as 66 cases of malaria and 184 cases of swine flu have been reported since January. While majority of swine flu cases were reported in February (44), March (64) and April (45), there were only two case in June. Around 98 snake bite cases have been registered since January, with 19 in June.

As per the PMC records, cases of viral hepatitis are on the rise, with a total of 682 cases reported since January. June alone reported 89 such cases.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), officials said there were 47 cases of malaria since January.

The sentinnel surveillance centre set up by the PCMC to test dengue cases registered only two cases


Maharashtra – 17 including 5 doctors, to be tried for murder in Beed #PCPNDT


Syed Rizwanullah, TNN Jun 20, 2013, 

AURANGABAD: Around 16 people, including five doctors, involved in cases of  sex selection  in Maharashtra’s Beed district in 2012 will now be tried for murder instead of culpable homicide.

The accused include five medical practitioners, hospital staffers, the women who gave birth to the female fetuses and their male relatives.



The Beed court framed the charges in the case on Tuesday. In all, 17 people had been booked.

On June 2, 2012, two female foetuses were found abandoned on the Bindusara river bank on the outskirts of Beed city. Another foetus was recovered from a village in Beed district, where the relatives had allegedly buried it. All the foetues had been aborted at Beed’s Sanap Hospital.

Shivaji Sanap, the medical practitioner who was arrested on June 2, 2012, for illegally aborting the fetues, is still in judicial custody. The others have been granted bail, the government pleader said. The hospital premises is owned by Sanap’s father-in-law Shrihari Lahane, a senior medical practitioner, who is among the 16 people charged.

The medical practitioners involved in the case expressed shock over the court’s move. “It has shocked us but we cannot make any comment on the court’s move as it is a part of the judicial process,” they said.

“We will consult legal experts and our lawyers to explore the possibility of challenging the order. We are waiting for a full text of the court’s move,” the added.



Mumbai- Do NOT link increase in the number of abortions to sex-determination tests

Mumbai recorded 44% more abortions last year
Pratibha Masand & Malathy Iyer TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Mumbai: Mumbai witnessed a 44% rise in the number of abortions last year, data from the city’s municipal body has shown.While 19,701 abortions were registered in 2011, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data from various public and private hospitals and nursing homes in 2012 showed 28,455 abortions.
Experts say the increase in the number of abortions shouldn’t be linked to sex-determination tests. “Most of these abortions have been carried out in the first trimester when it isn’t possible to detect the sex of the fetus,” said adoctor with a BMC hospital.
So what is the reason for the sudden increase? Public health officials say this is largely due to better reporting of data by hospitals aided on by computerization.
“The 2012 data is absolutely accurate in terms of reporting. Because of the stringent following of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) law, most MTP centres started reporting abortions accurately,” said Arun Bamne, BMC’s executive health officer. He added that some areas are bound to have more number of abortions owing to better healthcare facilities.
In 2011-2012, the state started a widespread crackdown on doctors and clinics for not adhering to PCPNDT rules and took action against over 400 doctors. In the same period, it also started a check on abortion clinics.
Rekha Daver, who heads the gynaecology department of the state-run JJ Hospital, believes computerization is the main reason. “Most hospitals have to report their numbers online to the government or local municipal corporation website. The 44% increase is most likely due to computerized reporting,” said Daver.
Many experts feel there is another reason — fewer options for women with regard to the method of abortion. After the crackdown on doctors last year as well as on chemists stocking abortion pills, women have had no option but to opt for surgical abortion at hospitals. Nikhil Datar, a gynaecologist, said, “It could be the result of better reporting of both medical and surgical abortions.”
Incidentally, many feel that abortion data rarely shows the entire picture. Some non-governmental organizations feel abortions are under-reported. “In India, an estimated 6.6 million abortions take place each year. But the government records only 6.6 lakh of them,” said Nozer Sheriar, secretary general of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India.
But experts say it is not possible to detect a pattern in the number of abortions over the years. “With the increase in population, the number of abortions are bound to go up as abortions are always a percentage of the population; but the awareness about contraceptives has gone up too,” said Sheriar.


#India – Time limit of abortions raised to nine weeks #MTP

New Delhi |April  26 Friday, 2013 5:36:05 PM IST

The time limit for abortions has been increased from seven to nine weeks to facilitate family planning, the Drug Controller General of India has said.

Nozer Sherian, secretary general of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies (FOGSI), said here Friday: “The Drug Controller General has increased the time limit of abortions to 63 days, that is nine weeks.”

In the last two years, 332,000 medical abortions were carried out, which show that if given a choice, women want to limit their families.

“This is very important as around eight percent of maternal deaths take place due to unsafe abortions,” he said.

FOGSI is promoting medical abortions along with Interuterine Medical Devices (IUD) to help people plan their families.

Hema Diwakar, president of FOGSI, said that women are now given a choice of post-placental IUD as soon as they give birth.

The family planning initiative taken up by the FOGSI and the Population Services International (PSI) is called ‘Pehel’. It is run mostly in urban slums.

It covers 30 districts in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Ten additional districts in these three states would be covered in the next phase.

“Pehel Phase 3 will continue to complement the government’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality and increase the contraceptive prevalence rate,” said Pritpal Marjara, director of PSI.

According to government data, every year about 78,000 women die during pregnancy, child birth or within 43 days of delivery in India.

Indo-Asian News Service spc/rt/tb

Hard labour for abortion pills as strict rules spook chemists #MTP #abortion #reproductiverights

, TNN | Apr 14, 2013, 02.41 AM IST

 MUMBAI: Bhavin Dave was married for just over six weeks when his wife realized she was pregnant. The two rushed to a doctor, who said the best way for them to deal with the unplanned pregnancy was with a medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) drug. She prescribed the pill and asked that it be taken by the next day. That was when their real struggle began.
Bhavin (name changed) scrambled from pharmacy to pharmacy, but nobody could sell the drug to him. He visited chemists in his neighbourhood of Malad (E) and also in Kandivli, Goregaon and Dawabazaar in Marine Lines. “Most chemists claimed that they did not store the medicine,” he said.

When a pharmacist finally agreed to sell him the drug, he demanded five times the maximum retail price. “The medicine’s MRP was Rs 499. The chemist sold it at Rs 2,500. He said, ‘Take it or leave it.’ I took it,” Bhavin said.

The Daves’ travail is not uncommon. Scores of couples face it because most city phamacies no longer store the drug citing strict FDA rules.

Most city pharmacies no longer store the drug, citing strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demands for documentation that were imposed as part of the government drive against female foeticide. Several of the chemists who do stock the medicine sell it at a premium.

“We get many patients with unwanted pregnancies,” said a gynaecologist. According to doctors, MTP drugs can be used till seven weeks of gestation. “By the time a woman realizes she has missed her period and confirms pregnancy, a little time has been already lost,” said the gynaecologist. This generally leaves women with about two weeks to abort with the help of the medicine. In cases where a woman is having irregular periods, the situation can turn out to be more urgent.

Chemists say that it is better not to stock MTP drugs than to face FDA paperwork. Prasad Danave, general secretary of the Retail Dispensing Chemist Association, said pharmacies are required to conduct several checks even if a patient has a prescription for an MTP drug. “They have to make sure that the prescription is correct and given by a proper MD gynaecologist who runs an authorized MTP centre,” Danave said. “For that reason, chemists generally do not give these drugs if they do not know the person to be from their locality.”

Pharmacists also have to keep records of patients and their contact details apart from photocopies of the prescriptions. “They have to maintain the records of each MTP tablet stocked,” said Danave.

A few chemists said the FDA contacts the manufacturers of MTP drugs to identify their biggest dealers. “Suppose we buy 150 tablets. If the FDA gets to know about the purchase, its officials visit for checks. We have to be completely accountable for all the tablets. Since the demand is not very high, the sale is also not much,” said a chemist at Dawabazaar in Marine Lines.

The FDA said pharmacies have to provide the drug on being furnished right prescriptions. “If a chemist stocks the drug, he has to sell it and on the correct MRP. We will investigate this matter,” said FDA joint commissioner K B Shende.


‘We must let nurses, ayurvedic doctors to perform abortions’



By, TNN | Mar 18, 2013, 02.49 AM IST


MUMBAI: Why not allow nurses and ayurvedic doctors to perform abortions? This was the plea made to the National Commission for Women(NCW), which recently invited comments to the proposed amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act & Rules.

Last month, the NCW had recommended an increase in the outer limit for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. NCW had said this would helpWomen whose fetuses are diagnosed with severe anomalies late into pregnancy.

NCW representative Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar heard public health experts representing NGOs and associations in this regard on Friday.

Dr Nozer Sheriar of FOGSI (Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India) told the NCW that it is important to expand the base of legal providers of abortions. Quoting figures from international NGO IPAS, he said that 6.4 million abortions are performed in India every year. “Half of them are performed at unsafe places that are unhygienic and have untrained providers,” he said. Not surprisingly, around 8% women undergoing abortion die.

Shireen Jejeebhoy of Delhi-based Population Council spoke about her research done across hospitals in Mumbai, Delhi and Patna to show that nurses were as skilled as physicians to perform manual vacuum aspiration (a method of abortion). “Even MBBS-pass doctors can be trained to perform abortions so that women don’t go to untrained people,” said the experts. Ayurvedic doctors can undergo specialization in gynecological services.

Taking note of the suggestion, Prabhavalkar said, “We all are in favour of helping women. But while widening the base, we have to ensure the rules of the PCPNDT Act are not affected.”




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