Medical council suspends 13 docs over sex tests

TNN | Jun 17, 2012, 04.24AM IST

MUMBAI: The MaharashtraMedical Council (MMC) on Saturday suspended 13 doctors against whom the state government had initiated action under the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.”These are temporary suspensions till the charges against them are proved in court. If found guilty, their membership will be terminated,” said Dr Shivkumar Utture, an executive member of the MMC.

The state had initiated action against the 13 doctors for allegedly conducting sex-determination tests and sex-selective abortions.

The MMC is also seeking more information on two doctors from Mumbai in this connection. “One of these doctors is a homoeopath and the other is not registered with the MMC. We have asked the government for more information on them,” he said. The MMC can suspend doctors only after a chargesheet is filed against them in courts.

The suspended doctors hail from Beed, Osmanabad, Jalgaon and Pune. “Some of them are gynaecologists while others are radiologists,” said Dr Utture.

The MMC has the power to temporarily or permanently suspend doctors. Incidentally, the MMC suspended five doctors a few months ago.

After a large number of sex-selective abortions cases were reported from Beed and surrounding areas, the state started stringent checks to ensure that the rules laid down under the PCPNDT Act were followed.

Incidentally, the MMC has not yet received any information about the Munde couple, Dr Sudam and Saraswati, from Beed. But the MMC has taken suo motu action against the couple on the basis of media reports and suspended the couple.

Dr Utture said, “We issued a showcause notice to the couple, but they did not respond to it. We do not even have any information about the court cases against them. The couple has been absconding.”

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




7th  June, 2012

Honourable  Shri. Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister ,Maharashtra  State

Mantralay Mumbai
Subject : Appropriate actions about sex selection.

Respected Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ForumAgainst Sex Selection (FASS), Mumbai
Core Group members

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

Copy to :

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

Not a single ultrasound centre in Shirur taluka, Beed, Maharashtra

, TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 06.06AM IST


The  Shirur taluka in Beed, which has been at the bottom of the sex ratio chart in the state for years, does not have a single USG centre.

In Shirur, for every 1,000 boys born, there are 768 girls. The trend, says Beed collector Sadanand Koche, has been consistent for years. “The reasons behind Shirur faring the worst in child sex ratio are many and complicated,” he said.

Merely 40 km from Beed town, Shirur has 60 villages, mainly populated by nomadic tribes. But while Beed has over 100 hospitals with 75 gynaecologists practicing there, Shirur has only two MBBS doctors and almost all the smaller medical centres are run by ayurveda and homoeopathy degree-holders. Yet, the two places have one thing in common: the words, ‘abortion’ and ‘sex determination’, are taboo.

Though the Shirur authorities refuse to acknowledge that the number of girl child born there is abysmal, official figures bare it all. The primary health centre carries out up to 30 deliveries a month; in May, out of the 28 babies born, 15 were boys. The figure is worse for April, when out of 24 babies born, six were girls.

A look at the records of Shirur’s biggest school, Kalikadevi Medium and High School, shows that out of 739 students in Classes V to X, only 304 are girls. The sex ratio becomes even more skewed in college.

A right balance has to be struck between a woman’s right to privacy and the need to curb misuse of sonography tests — Prithviraj Chavan | CHIEF MINISTER

According to statistical assistant with the Integrated Child Development Scheme Shubhangi Rayate, many mothers themselves are not keen on daughters. “But it is difficult to maintain records of all the parents and babies as couples here migrate to other parts for six months for sugarcane cutting,” she said. “We can’t keep a tab on them outside the taluka and don’t know if they get a sex-determination done there.” Every year, about 5 lakh people from Beed migrate outside to work.

Koche added with many in the sugarcane industry offering jobs to boys with a wife only, villagers want sons. “Contractor picks up couples as single units. Parents prefer boys as they get ‘extra workforce’ in the form of a daughterin-law,” he said. A couple gets paid up to Rs 2 lakh.

Dowry is another major reason behind Shirur residents preferring a boy to a girl. Here, even a poor sugarcane cutter has to pay Rs 2-5 lakh as dowry. Dr Sudhakar Khedkar, who has been in Shirur for 12 years, said owing to this reason, people from all strata—the poorest to the richest—tended to abort fem-ale foetuses once they found out the child’s sex from private USG centres outside Shirur. But schemes like Ajit Balika Yojana, were bringing hope, he said. Under it, after a girl is born, an FD of Rs 5,000 is deposited in her bank account and the amount can be withdrawn only after 18 years.

Abortion Drug very High in Beed

Abortion drug sale very high in Beed

, TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 05.53AM IST


PUNE: The sale of abortion drug Vecredil is widespread in Beed city and Parli Vaijanath, the latest report of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has found. Just three distributors sold as many as 6,416 vial packs of the drug in these two places over the last three years.

This is alarming, say FDA officials and doctors, as the drug is sparingly prescribed, that too only in second trimester abortion of foetuses with “lethal anomalies”, which generally happens in one in 300 cases. Lethal anomaly means that the foetus has a physical abnormality incompatible with survival or normal life.

The second trimester in a pregnancy is 12 to 20 weeks of gestation, when, experts say, the foetus is grown enough for its sex to be determined in a sonography test.

If a pregnancy is aborted medically before 12 weeks of gestation, a minor surgical procedure is conducted and drugs like Vecredil are not required.

Two more held for dumping foetus

The Beed police on Monday arrested the father and the boyfriend, who is a distant relative, of an unmarried woman in connection with the dumping of one of the female foetuses under a bridge last Saturday. The number of people arrested in the case has now risen to seven

Feminist Kolaveri on Declining Sex Ratio

L Lyrics composed by Sharmila Rege, Sneha Gole & Sugeeta Roy Choudhury

( I have edited few lines, so that its not anti abortion language )

Yo people

We are singing song,

Hard-hit song, Hit-Hard song

Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di, Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di

Message correct

Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di

Sex Ratio up please

Why this Kolaveri (…..) – haan Di

Boy on moon moon-u

Girl out of sight-u

Social background wrong-u wrong-u

So girls’ future black-u

Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di, Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di

No one want girl girl – u

All hearts black – u

Change it now now now

Or future dark

Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di. Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di

Pa pa pa pein pa pa pa pein, pa pa pein pa pa pein

Pa pa pa pein pa pa pa pein, pa pa pein pa pa pein

Super people

Ready 1-2-3-4

Ok people

Now tune change

Stop the discrimination

Everywhere baba!

Stop this discrimination

Give da girls Equality

Slogans will not work

Change structures

Come together,

Ratio will change gear

Sathi sathi

O my sathi

Show to me how,

Low how, why now

Ratio should change how-u

Friend, no girl is discriminated now,

She is happy wow-u

This song for girls n boys

We have a choice

Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di, Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di

Sex Selection on the rise among Canadian Sikhs

True to the adage “old habits die hard” immigrants from Punjab and Haryana — states with India’s worst sex ratio – appear to be carrying the practice of female foeticide in Canada where the evil trend has started to raise its ugly head.

The heinous trend of sex selection  is showing up among the Sikh population in Canada, many of whom have migrated from Punjab and Haryana in the last two decades.

The menace was spotted largely among the immigrant Sikhs while the Christians and Muslims do not exhibit this trend.

However, some other South Asian ethnic groups were also found to commit s ex selection . The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently  flagged the issue urging the Canadian government to prohibit disclosure of the sex of a foetus until after 30 weeks of pregnancy to combat sex selection, practised by a section of Indians.

“For Sikhs, there are more than 2 boys per girl for the third child if the two elder children were girls implying a sex ratio that is 100 per cent above the normal. By contrast Asian immigrants who are Christians or Muslims exhibit normal sex ratio, irrespective of parity and sex mix of previous children,” says a study carried out by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Massachusetts.

Sex Selection  happens in India and China by the millions. But it also happens in North America in numbers large enough to distort the male to female ratio in some ethnic groups.

Small numbers cannot be ignored when the issue is about discrimination against women in its most extreme form,” Rajendra Kale, editor-in-chief of the journal, said in his editorial.

According to the 2011 census, India’s child sex ratio dipped to an all time low of 914 and Punjab (846) and Haryana (830). A  Response 

After decades of pitched battles, Canada effectively has no abortion law. It is a medical procedure that, like others, depends on the ethical practice of medicine. The last thing we need is to have women who are making an already-difficult choice, to be grilled about why they are having an abortion. And we know, historically, that when you put restrictions on abortion, you merely drive the practice underground, where it is less safe, and endangers women.

Besides, technology is changing so rapidly that it’s becoming virtually impossible to prevent people from learning the sex of a fetus. Ultrasounds are cheap and portable, you can mail away a blood sample to a lab and, who knows, maybe the iPhone will soon have an app for that.

India, where the practice of sex selection is much more widespread and problematic than in Canada, has had a law in place since 1994 that bans medical professionals from disclosing the sex of a fetus.

“There’s quite a debate about whether it works. There are a lot of loopholes,” said Anant Bhan, a physician and bioethicist at the Sandra Rotman Centre at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Bhan said the solution ultimately is to eradicate the systematic neglect of girls and women that exists in large parts of the world “but that kind of profound societal change is not going to occur overnight.”

In the meantime, you need a whole host of approaches. You need education – and, above all, you need to allow girls to get an education, which opens up economic opportunities. You need to make practices like dowries socially unacceptable. And you need to continue to publish data like the CMAJ has done, drawing attention to these practices so they can be discussed openly, not practised furtively.

Silent Observer” not a quick fix solution to dwindling child sex ratio

A new device called a “Silent Observer” — hailed as a solution to curbing the practice of aborting female babies in India — has drawn criticism from activists who say the technology is more a government eyewash than an answer.

Despite laws banning expectant parents from doing pre-natal tests to determine the gender of their unborn child, the practice of female foeticide remains common in parts of India, where a preference for sons runs deep.The “Silent Observer” — also known as an “active tracker” — is a large electronic device which can be fitted into sonography machines to allow authorities to monitor and record the pre-natal ultrasound scans taken by doctors.

The device, currently part of a pilot program in western India, sends scans to police who will monitor and crackdown on doctors believed to be conducting these gender tests, which result in abortions of thousands of female fetuses annually.

“The 2011 census is staring us in the face. We have lost many girls due tos ex selection  , but now everyone is looking for a quick-fix solution. The tracker appears to be this … almost like a quick pill to fix the gender crisis we are facing in the country.

India’s 2011 national census has revealed that while the overall female-to-male ratio has marginally improved since the last census in 2001, fewer girls were born than boys and the number of girls under 6-years-old plummeted for the fifth decade running.

“Silent Observer” Pilot Program Cannot Determine Doctors’ Intent

A May study in the British medical journal Lancet found that up to 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last three decades — resulting in a skewed child sex ratio of 914 girls to every 1,000 boys in 2011 compared with 962 in 1981.

Sons, in traditionally male-dominated regions, are viewed as assets — breadwinners who will take care of the family, continue the family name, and perform the last rites of the parents, an important ritual in many faiths.

Daughters are seen as a liability, as families have to pay substantial wedding dowries. Protecting their chastity is a major concern as pre-marital sex is seen to bring shame and dishonor on families.

The “Silent Observer” currently is being tested in western India’s Maharashtra state. The device has been installed in hundreds of ultrasound machines in clinics and hospitals of Kolhapur district, which has a child sex ratio of 845 girls to 1,000 boys.

No cases involving the tracker have been registered against doctors so far, said activists, who believe the application and implementation of the device is unlikely to act as a deterrent to sex selection

We need a technical person to read the images and moreover what images emerge only reveal that the doctor is viewing the genitalia (of the baby), which he or she is expected to do to detect congenital deformity.This device cannot identify or pinpoint the real intent of the doctor to prove that he or she is contemplating sex determination and sex selection.Device is useless in smaller and increasingly common portable ultrasound devices

The trackers are large rectangle instruments which can only be attached to large trolley-type sonography machines, said Singh, adding that many illegal abortions were being carried out based on information provided by smaller unregistered laptop and palmtop ultrasound machines.

Activists are concerned the tracker will be adopted by other states such as Punjab, Goa and Haryana, which also have highly skewed sex ratios, as a “band aid” or excuse not to tackle the underlying problem of lack of enforcement of the law.

There have been 486 cases registered against doctors conducting gender tests and this has resulted in around only 7 convictions. While the tracker may help in providing evidence, the figures say it all  and  enforcement of the PCPNDT ACT  is what is  needed.

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