Open letter to Shahrukh and Gauri Khan #surrogacy #sexselection

Dated- June 18.2013

Dear Shahrukh and Gauri Khan

Media reports allege that you are having a third child through surrogacy and that you are aware it’s a baby boy. We cannot comment on the authenticity of the news reports.  But in response to these reports, the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association has demanded the Maharashtra State Health Department initiate an inquiry . The BMC officials had visited your house but were not given any information.

FASS is a network with over 50 member including Ngos, and individual activits, lawyers and teachers . 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 want to inform you that the PCPNDT Act prohibits the use of all technologies for the purpose of sex selection, which would also include the new chromosome separation techniques. There is a blanket ban under sections 3, 4 and 5 of the PCPNDT Act.

Although you have neither denied nor accepted this statement, we would like to remind you that early this year you issued a statement which said:

Being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning, adjectives good and bad and or sometimes makes me an object of controversy  as people  use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. I accept all the above because this is the life I chose and will stand by it. full statement here

We as FASS members demand the truth and want you come out with a public statement regarding the issue. If it is denial, then there  is no issue, but if its true, then  you have completely violated the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act and like any other citizen of India you will be charged under the PCPNDT Act for violation of law and it will take it own legal recourse.

Kamayani Bali Mahabal and Jyoti Mhapsekar

On behalf of Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS)­­­

Fass Secretariat

c/o Stree Mukti Sanghatana

31, Shramik , Royal Crest, 1st Floor,
Lokamanya Tilak Vasahat Road No. 3,
Dadar (East), Mumbai – 400 014,
Maharashtra, India.
Tele-Fax: +91 22 24174381




Maharashtra – Govt, private hospitals told to display sex ratio at birth #Goodnews

, TNN | Jun 3, 2013,

PUNE: All government and private hospitals are now required to keep a display board of the sex ratio at birth, based on the number of deliveries of boys and girls taking place on their premises.The state government, in a letter issued on May 31, has directed civil surgeons and the civic health department to ensure that all hospitals falling in their respective jurisdictions follow the latest diktat in letter and spirit.

“A decision was taken in the state advisory board’s meeting held in Mumbai on May 3. The letter directing civil surgeons and civic medical officer of health (MoH) to ensure implementation in their jurisdictions was issued on May 31. All hospitals, government and private, will now have to display such a board,” a state health official said.

in which civil surgeons and civic health officials have been categorically asked to ensure that all hospitals in their administrative powers follow the latest rule in letter and spirit.

“Hospitals should be informed that they will have to calculate sex ratio at birth based on the deliveries taking place in their clinical establishment and display the same on the board,” the letter reads.

TOI has a copy of the letter that instructs all hospitals to follow the rule. “The officials entrusted to ensure the implementation need to furnish information about how many hospitals have put such a board along with photos of such display boards installed at the hospitals to the State Family Welfare Bureau periodically,” the letter states.

Child sex ratio is calculated as the number of girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 years’ age group. As per global trends, the normal child sex ratio should be above 950. When the ratio is calculated at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – it is called sex ratio at birth. The sex ratio at birth is a better indicator of pre-natal sex selection. The ideal sex ratio at birth is 951 girls per 1,000 boys.

“We will ensure that all hospitals follow the latest government directive. Our team of officials overseeing the effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act within the municipal limits of Pune city will implement the rule,” S T Pardeshi, medical officer of health (MoH), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said.

“There are three indicators for measuring the sex ratio – overall sex ratio, child sex ratio and sex ratio at birth. Sex ratio at birth is a sensitive indicator, independent of sex specific mortality and migration. The objective of the latest diktat is to assess the scenario of sex ratio at birth at different hospitals,” said another top state health official from State Health Systems Resource Centre (SHSRC), a technical and research wing of department of health and family welfare. The move will help find hospitals constantly showing low birth ratio of girls born per 1,000 boys and facilitate corrective measures.

Other directives under the PCPDNT Act for hospitals and doctors.

* Use of pre-natal (before delivery) diagnostic techniques are allowed only on medical grounds for detecting abnormalities and anomalies and not for sex determination Section 6 a,b,c

* No person conducting pre-natal diagnostic procedures shall communicate to the pregnant woman concerned or her relatives the sex of the foetus by words, signs or in any other manner Section 5

* All clinics conducting ultrasound must be registered and certificate displayed.-No of machines, qualification of person conducting sonography and period of registration Section 19(4)

* All clinics should display prominently ‘disclosure of sex of the foetus is prohibited under the law’ in English as well as in local language Rule 17 (1)

* All clinics should have available copy of Act Rule 17 (2)

* Doctors or clinics advertising sex determination test in any form are liable for punishment Section 22

* Every offence under this Act is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable Section 27

* Implementing authority under the Act is Appropriate Authority Section 17

* Under the Act, appropriate authority has power to search, seize and seal clinics Section 30

* Act has made it mandatory to maintain records of every scan done Section 29 and Rule 9 Section 5 and Rule 10 (1A)



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.


Fewer daughters for India’s doctors, suggests shocking report

Written by Tejas Mehta |

Fewer daughters for India's doctors, suggests shocking report

(Representational pic)

MumbaiIt is a well-established fact that many doctors across the country have been caught promoting and pushing for gender-selection in favour of the male child. A lucrative, illegal and unethical business. But are they also practising this in their personal lives?A new study published in the American Journal “Demography” and titled “Skewed Sex Ratios in India: Physician Heal Thyself” seems to suggest so. The survey was conducted by collecting data from 946 nuclear families with 1,624 children. Either one or both parents were doctors and students at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur between 1980 and 1985.

The survey revealed the following:

  • Child sex ratio amongst these families was 907 girls per 1,000 boys
  • This is below the national average of 914
  • Much lower than the regional (Vidarbha) average of 954
  • If the family had only one child, this figure dropped even further to 900
  • If the family had two children and the first one was girl, the ratio dropped to a shameful 519 – chances of the second child being female dropped by 38%

The analysis – done by a team of four doctors in Nagpur – clearly points out that “the heavily skewed ratios in the families of physicians are indicative of a deeply rooted social malady that could pose a critical challenge in correcting sex ratios in India.”

One of the study’s authors, Dr Archana Patel,  says that the idea was to go beyond earlier findings which have shown that though gender selection takes place across most socio-economic groups,  the sex ratio is more skewed amongst the rich than the poor. “I don’t think such disproportionate figures can be achieved without any human interference. The numbers do suggest that doctors too are reflecting the mindset of the society at large,” she told NDTV.

The report also cautions that the study has its limitations given the small sample size taken into consideration and it also does not account for childhood mortality rates.  However, it mentions that the figures are “distressing” and “warrants a closer look at the psyche behind sex-selection practices” and if they pervade across the medical fraternity.

When informed about these startling figures, Maharashtra’s Health Minister Suresh Shetty agreed the data was indicative of the rot having gone much too far. “We will have to examine this report as this is quite serious.  However, when we started taking this issue very seriously two years ago, we faced stiff resistance from doctors and all those who were running sonography centres as they opposed the implementation of the law,” he claimed.

Maharashtra has been grappling with the scourge of sex-determination and female foeticide for years. The epicenter of the malpractice is at Beed, a 7 hour drive from Mumbai, where Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati allegedly ran a sophisticated abortion racket for several years.  In May 2012, the death of a woman who came to the couple for an abortion spot-lit the magnitude of their activities and led to their arrest.

Both are now facing charges under the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. If convicted they could face a maximum of three years in jail. Mrs Munde is out on bail but Mr Munde’s plea was rejected by the Supreme Court last November. The court directed him to apply for bail after six months.


Sex discrimination in India begins in the womb: Study

PTI | Mar 28, 2013, 12.49 PM IST

A study suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.
WASHINGTON: Women in India are more likely to get prenatal care when pregnant withmale babies, according to a groundbreaking study that has implications for girls’ health and survival in patriarchal societies.

The study by Leah Lakdawala of Michigan State University and Prashant Bharadwaj of the University of California, San Diego, suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.

“It paints a pretty dire picture of what’s happening,” said Lakdawala, MSU assistant professor of economics.

In India, while it’s illegal for a doctor to reveal the sex of an unborn baby or for a woman to have an abortion based on the baby’s sex, both practises are common, Lakdawala said.

However, knowing the sex of the baby through an ultrasound also can lead to discrimination for those pregnancies that go full-term, she said in a statement.

In studying the national health-survey data of more than 30,000 Indians, the researchers found that women pregnant with boys were more likely to go to prenatal medical appointments, take iron supplements, deliver the baby in a health-care facility – as opposed to in the home – and receive tetanus shots.

Tetanus is the leading cause of neonatal deaths in India. According to the study, children whose mothers had not received a tetanus vaccination were more likely to be born underweight or die shortly after birth.

The researchers – the first to study sex discrimination in prenatal care – also looked at smaller data sets from other countries.

In other patriarchal nations of China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, evidence of sex-discrimination in the womb existed. But in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ghana – which are not considered male-dominated – no such evidence existed.

“This type of discrimination we’re seeing, while not as severe as sex-selective abortion, is very important for children’s health and well-being,” Lakdawala said.

Given that previous research has linked early childhood health to later outcomes, sex discrimination in prenatal care might also have long-term effects.

“We know that children born at higher birth weights go to school for longer periods and have higher wages as adults, so the future implications here are pretty serious,” Lakdawala said.

The study appears in the Journal of Human Resources.


Mumbai- Over 400 cases of illegal sex tests in a yea , 34 doctors in jail

Sandeep Ashar, TNN Mar 20, 2013, 03.11AM IST

MUMBAI: More than 400 cases have been lodged against doctors for illegal sex determination and  sex selection in the past year, it has now emerged.

Since April 1, 2012, the state government has slapped 403 cases against doctors. About 100 cases among these have so far been disposed of resulting in conviction in 46 cases. About 34 doctors have been sent to jail in 30 cases. Four relatives of the victims have also been imprisoned.


‘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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