‘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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Mumbai- One in two people don’t know abortions are legal, says survey


By, TNN | Mar 18, 2013,

MUMBAI: One in two people in the city’s western suburbs don’t know that abortions are legal but 65% know that it’s illegal to find out the gender of the unborn child, a new survey says. This, public health experts say, shows how the government’s fight to save the girl child could inadvertently compromise the woman’s right to abortion. The result: Mortality rate as high as 8% amongwomen who are forced to approach ill-trained practitioners for abortions.The survey was by Women Networking, an umbrella group of voluntary organizations, in slum pockets across Andheri to Malwani and the results were published last December. It interviewed 700 people, mostly women. “The government is rightly publicizing the PCPNDT Act that prohibits sex-determination tests and sex-selective abortions, but it has not been highlighting the women’s right to abortion. There is confusion among people over the legality of abortions,” said Laxmi Menon, a coordinator with Women Net- working.

Discussions have begun at public health forums about how the state government’s mission to save the girl child is encroaching on her mother’s right to abortion. In 1971, the Union government presented the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act to allow women to undergo abortion for family planning. In 1994, the government passed the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT) to ban determination of the unborn child’s gender.

After the first results of the 2011 Census showed falling sex ratio at birth (number of girl children born for every 1,000 boys) across Maharashtra, the state government cracked down on clinics that failed to follow PCPNDT Act rules. In 2012, 400 criminal cases were filed in courts against doctors and other staff. The Maharashtra Medical Council cancelled the registration of 35 doctors indulging in sex-selective abortions.There are many causes of skewed sex ratios in the under-5 age group. One reason is neglect of the girl child. Policy initiatives don’t look at these issues and only talk about clamping down on abortion

At a meeting of women’s groups in Andheri on February 27, Cehat coordinator Padma Deosthali said the government has been unable to check ‘sex-determination’ and hence shifted focus to controlling ‘sex-selective’ abortions. “In the process, it began cracking down on abortion services across the board,” she said.

The government announced two decisions that ‘stigmatize’ abortions in general. It attempted to ban abortion pills and sought reduction in gestation period for medical termination of pregnancy from 12 weeks to 10 weeks. The anti-sex selection campaign and right to abortion campaign are not on opposite sides, and should be working towards the health rights of women and preventing gender-based discrimination.

Dr Suchitra Dalvie, a coordinator with Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, said the main problem was women have begun accessing unsafe abortion options, such as approaching quacks. Health economist Sundari Ravindra said 15,000-20,000 women die every year due to lack of access to safe abortion practices.

 

Take quick and tough action against sex selection: SC


By PTI – NEW DELHI

04th March 2013 08:02 PM

  • Steps should be taken by the state government and the authorities under the PNDT Act for mapping of all registered and unregistered ultra-sonography clinics, in three months time,” the top court said. (PTI/File)

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre and state governments to take quick and tough action against people indulging in sex selection  and passed a slew of directions for effective implementation of PNDT Act that prohibits pre-natal sex determination.

The apex court directed the governments to map all ultra- sonography clinics within three months and asked the lower courts to dispose all cases for violation of the Act within a period of six months to bring the accused to book.

“Steps should be taken by the state government and the authorities under the Act for mapping of all registered and unregistered ultra-sonography clinics, in three months time,” a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

“The various courts in this country should take steps to dispose of all pending cases under the Act, within a period of six months,” it said.

The bench also said that special cell be constituted by the state governments and the Union Territories to monitor the progress of various cases pending in the courts under the Act and take steps for their early disposal.

It said that more vigil and attention by the authorities is required in view of “mushrooming” of various sonography centres, genetic clinics, genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, ultrasonic clinics and imaging centres in almost all parts of the country.

The court passed the order on a PIL by NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab pleading it to interfere in the matter in view of decreasing number of girls/boys ratio in the country.

The average count of girl child (0-6 years) in the country has dropped to 914 per 1000 boys as per the Census 2011 which was earlier 927 in the 2001 Census.

 

#Manipur Govt determined to check sex selection


Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 07 2013: The Government of Manipur has taken up several measures to check sex selection in the State.

Talking to The Sangai Express in his office room, Family Welfare Department, State Nodal Officer (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique) Dr Th Arun Kumar said that the practice of sexs election and  identifying sex of the unborn baby with the help of Ultrasound machine is punishable under law.

The offenders can be either sentenced to jail or fined or both under the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique Act 1994 .

Taking serious note of the skewed sex ratio of the country, the Government of India enacted the Act to checksex selection  which is practised widely in some States of the country.

According to the 2001 census report, child sex ratio of India in the age group of 0-6 years was 1000:927.But this figure changed to 1000:914 in 2011 .

District-wise child sex ratio for the State of Manipur in the same age group as per 2011 census report was 1000:943 in Imphal West district, 1000: 932 in Imphal East district, 1000:948 in Thoubal district, 1000:941 in Tamenglong district, 1000:945 in Churachandpur district, 1000:921 in Ukhrul district, 1000:912 in Senapati district, 1000:919 in Chandel district and 1000:919 in Bishnupur district.

In view of the ever decreasing sex ratio, Family Welfare Department has launched an intensive drive starting from this year under the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique Act 1994 in Government as well as private hospitals.

The drive has already reached Public Hospital at Hatta and Maroodyan Clinic at Palace Gate.

Soon after the drive, Maroodyan Clinic has registered its Ultrasound machine in the PNDT Cell of Family Welfare Department.

Earlier, the Ultrasound machine was being used without registration.

However, Public Hospital has not yet come forward to register their Ultrasound machine even after they have been told to do so during the drive which was carried out more than 15 days back.

Subsequently, the matter has been tabled in a meeting of the State Advisory Board after due consultation between the PNDT Cell and the State’s appropriate authority for registering an FIR with police and further legal actions.

Another Ultrasound machine was also discovered in a private doctor’s house.

This time, the doctor responded positively to the department’s instructions, said Dr Arun Kumar.

PNDT Act 1994 was enforced in the State since 2003 only although the same Act was enforced at the National level since 1996.Since then, NGOs and Family Welfare Department have been organising awareness programmes about the Act and female foeticide.

According to the rules of PNDT Act 1994, a pregnant woman may abort her foetus if it poses risk of death.

A woman may also abort her child if it was conceived out of rape or due to failure of family planning methods.

Except in such cases, no woman can go for abortion.

In case, a private hospital or doctor is found involved in female foeticide after identifying sex of a foetus by using Ultrasound machine illegally , the PNDT Act warrants that they can be fined up to Rs 50,000 and jailed for three years.

So far, 111 people have been punished under PNDT Act 1994 at the national level.

Moreover, 1295 FIRs have also been registered, Dr Arun Kumar said quoting Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Gulam Nabi Azad.

 

#India-Search engine in a spot over sex-selection ads


, TNN | Nov 4, 2012, 01.07AM IST

Search engine in a spot over sex-selection ads
Popular search engine Google may be in for some trouble for continuing to display advertisement links of clinics offering gender selection of unborn children.
MUMBAI: Popular search engine Google may be in for some trouble for continuing to display advertisement links of clinics offering gender selection of unborn children. Pro-girl child groups in Indiahave written to the company, asking it to remove these links within a fortnight or face legal action.On Saturday evening when TOI searched Google for “gender selection India”, the first three links that came up were paid ads by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics offering kits to parents so that the gender of their baby can be selected before they conceive. With headings like “Good news! Now you can choose!” and “You can now balance your family”, these foreign websites offer “high success rates” in choosing the gender of the unborn child.On Friday, the Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS), a network of NGOs, activists, lawyers and teachers, wrote to Google about these ads and demanded their immediate removal.A skewed sex ratio and crimes against the girl child have been dogging India. The recent census revealed that there were only 914 girls per every 1,000 boys in the country. Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, fared even worse with 883 girls per 1,000 boys.

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, an advocate who wrote the letter, said though the ads are of clinics inDubai and the US, they should not be accessible to netizens in India. “According to a 2008  Supreme court ruling, clinics offering sex selection and sex determination of an unborn child are not allowed anywhere, even on the internet. In 2008, Google was told to remove links of such ads and it had done so then, but the ads are back again. There needs to be constant monitoring on part of the search engine,” she said.

Activists said such advertisements give ideas to people about travelling abroad to access technology banned in India. The FASS has also marked a copy of the letter to the cyber crime cell and the pre-conception pre-natal diagnostic techniques cell in Delhi. “We will wait for 15 days for Google’s response. If that does not happen, we’ll file a case,” said Mahabal.

Google, however, denied receiving any such letter from the forum. “The Google advertising program is managed by a set of policies which we develop based on several factors, including legal requirements and user experience. In India, we do not allow ads for the promotion of pre-natal gender determination or preconception sex selection. We take applicable legal requirements extremely seriously and take prompt and effective action in case a violation is reported to us,” a spokesperson from Google’s office in Hyderabad said, adding that the ads would be removed if there is a complaint.

On Saturday, one of the links, which was visible on Friday when TOI contacted Google, did not show up on the search engine.

IN RESPONSE TO DENIAL OF GOOGLE

 The complaint has been sent to google at   paroma@google.com ,she is corporate communication person with Google India and I have the email as a proof  for the court

Medical bodies to blackball doctors


Published: Saturday, Jun 9, 2012, 8:13 IST
By Surendra Gangan | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Doctors aborting female foetuses, expect no mercy from your peers. Several medical associations in the state have decided to lodge suo moto cases against doctors involved in such practice.

To show that it means business, the Maharashtra Medical Council, suspended five doctors and issued show cause notices to 10 others after receiving 41 such cases in the last few days.
The state government has decided to take strict action against doctors involved in sex selection cases and to expedite such cases’ proceedings at various courts. There are 242 such cases pending before several courts across the state. The government also plans to ask the Bombay high court to transfer such cases to fast track courts.
Meanwhile, health minister Suresh Shetty held a meeting on Friday with various organisations representing doctors, radiologists, sonography centre owners at Mantralaya. While assuring that errant doctors will be blackballed, medical associations, including the Maharashtra Medical Council, the Maharashtra Council of Indian Medicines and the Maharashtra Council of Homeopathy, said cases pending against doctors affiliated to them will be disposed of in a month.

Cracking the whip on sex selection, joint teams of revenue, police and health officials have inspected nearly 115 sonography centres, 22 of which have been sealed. Of the 403 legal centres which can conduct abortions, six have been closed for violating norms.

Shetty said several accused go scot-free in sex selection cases due to incompetent public pleaders and, therefore, the health department has decided to identify two top pleaders from each district. He said action will be initiated against pleaders losing cases.

Ghatkopar emerges as abortion capital of Mumbai


, TNN | Jun 10, 2012, 04.23AM IST

MUMBAI: The central suburb of Ghatkopar has emerged as the abortion capital of Mumbai. Over the past five years, though the number of abortions in the city has been on a decline, Ghatkopar has topped the chart as the area where the maximum medical termination of pregnancies was conducted.

In 2011, there were 2,110 abortions done in N ward that falls in Ghatkopar area, with K ward in Andheri (E) following it with 1,784 abortions. Other areas like Kurla with 1,328 abortions, Elphinstone (1,284) and Dadar/Plaza area (1,246) have been identified as high abortion wards, according to data provided by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in response to an RTI filed by activist Chetan Kothari.

Kothari said though he had asked for the reasons for abortions, the BMC in its reply stated that it was unavailable. BMC executive health officer Dr Anil Bandiwadekar said it was difficult to interpret the numbers. “A couple may have suffered from contraceptive failure, or may have an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Moreover, the woman may be unmarried, because of which she decides to undergo an abortion. Since all these abortions are legal, the statistics are in no way an indication of gender preferences in society,” he said.

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar.

Private hospitals preferred for abortions

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar

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