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.


Census 2011: Abstract- Primary Data Released

English: A sticker pasted at a house to mark i...


Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Home Minister released the Primary Census Abstract-Data Highlights of Census 2011 in a function organized by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India here today.


On this occasion Union Home Minister congratulated all stake holders for completing the 2011 Census and said that the results of efforts to improve the quality by new methods of training, data collection, data processing and data dissemination are there before all of us. The provisional data was published within 3 weeks of the completion of Census and the final housing Census data was brought out within 1 year of the provisional release. Today, the final results of the Population Enumeration are being released again a year ahead of schedule.


Shri Shinde also expressed his happiness that the growth rate of population has come down during the last decade and literacy has increased significantly, particularly the female literacy. He further said that all this information would go a long way in assessing the ongoing schemes and planning appropriate interventions in rural and urban areas.


On the occasion, Union Home Minister distributed Census Medals to Shri G. K. Pillai, former Union Home Secretary and the officers of the Census Organization in recognition to the outstanding services rendered by them during Census 2011.


Some of the salient features of the data released are as below:-


Total population of the country is 1.21 billion showing an increase of 181.96 million persons in absolute numbers of population in India during the decade 2001-2011. During this decade, population of India grew by 17.7% as against 21.5% in the previous decade.


As per Census 2011, 833.5 million persons live in rural areas and 377.1 million persons lives in urban areas. Thus, more than 2/3rd of total population of India lives in rural areas.


Density of population as per current Census is 382 persons per against 325 persons per in 2001.


Child population in the age group 0-6 years in 2011 Census is 164.5 million as against 163.8 million showing an increase of 0.4% in the last decade.


Sex ratio in Census 2011 is 943 females per 1000 males as against 933 in 2001 Census.


Population of Scheduled Castes in this Census is 201.4 million as against 166.6 million in 2001 registering an increase of 20.8% whereas Scheduled Tribes population increased to 104.3 million in 2011 from 84.3 million in 2001.


As per Census 2011, number of literates is 763.5 million as against 560.7 million in 2001.





‘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.”




#India-Allow abortions up to 24 weeks, national women’s panel says

TNN | Feb 3, 2013, 04.33 AM IST

Allow abortions up to 24 weeks, national women's panel says
NCW says no couple will wait till 20 weeks of pregnancy to abort a foetus on the basis of gender as such offenders wait for barely 12 weeks or so to seek abortion on the grounds that contraception had failed.
MUMBAIThe National Commission forWomen (NCW) has advised the Union health ministry to push the time limit for abortions from 20 weeks of pregnancy to 24.”The ministry had asked us to review the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, and send our recommendation if any. We sent them the proposal last month,” NCW member Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar said.

The recommendation on the NCW website says, “Keeping in view of the present scientific development in medical diagnostic technologies as well as social scenario, laws/statutes need to be revamped”.

While some experts feel extending the abortion time limit will be abused to commit female foeticide, NCW members are sure it will not. “No couple will wait till 20 weeks of pregnancy to abort a foetus on the basis of gender. Such offenders wait for barely 12 weeks or so to seek abortion on the grounds that contraception had failed,” Samant-Prabhavalkar said.

The NCW draft note goes on to say that a new situation demands new laws. “A woman may be raped or a minor may have become pregnant or a woman from a depressed class violated, a woman/girl deserted by partner who had promised to marry her — the present law does not address these special circumstances, hence the NCW feels it necessary to review Section 3- 5 of the MTP Act,1971,” the note adds.

Tweak law

Accordingly, the NCW wants that Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act to be tweaked to read, “where the length of the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but does not exceed 24 weeks”.

Incidentally, this was the lone recommendation the NCW made to the government.

Experts say the extended time limit will help couples with malformed foetuses to take a call. “Most cardiac anomalies can only be detected after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, the parents need time to talk it out with family and friends. So a 24-week limit seems fair,” said Dr Nikhil Datar, who had supported his patient Niketa Mehta to move the court in 2008 for abortion after a cardiac defect was detected in the foetus in the 24th week of gestation. The plea was turned down by the court, but she miscarried thereafter. The foetus reportedly had severe heart problems.

In brief:

* On August 4, 2008, the Bombay high court dismissed Niketa Mehta’s plea for abortion as the foetus had a congenital heart problem. The defect was detected in the 24th week

* The bench said the court could just interpret the law and not make the law

* The Centre is reviewing the MTP Act

* The NCW studied MTP laws in the US and the UK and consulted doctors before recommending that 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act should be changed to allow abortions up to 24 weeks


Mother, superior- Abortion Debate

Radhika Oberoi | December 29, 2012, Times Crest


It was a wintry school day and we, the students of Class XII B, were walking in single file, towards a room designated for yoga classes. A special film was about to be screened in the room and it had been readied for that purpose – the curtains were tightly drawn and a projector stood purposefully in a corner.

There was much mirth amongst the rows of schoolgirls who poured into the room. Apart from the novelty of watching a film over a double period of Maths, there were whispers that, in this, a convent school, the film was about a certain three-letter word that began with S and ended with X. Part of a curriculum that was politely described as ‘Health Education‘, it was meant to prepare us for Life.

As the projector beamed the film, the shaky images steadied themselves to tell the tale of a twelve-week-old fetus as it underwent an abortion. The film used a series of still ultrasound images to unravel the abortive process with chilling accuracy. An obstetrician sat by a television screen, pointing out steel instruments invading the womb. He described the suction cannula as a “lethal weapon” that will “dismember, crush and destroy” the fetus (consistently referred to as “the child” ). The grainy fetal images finally revealed a tiny mouth that opened in horror and let out a “silent scream. ”

The film, and the Q and A session that followed, were a well-intended gesture for us from our Catholic school worried about the sexual destinies of its graduating class. The congregation of nuns who ran the school hoped our choices would always be pro-life. Their vision was limited by the innocence of the era and unable to foresee the dilemmas we would face, as the world turned and we came of age.

Because no self-righteous educational film could possibly account for the death of Savita Halappanavar who was seventeen weeks pregnant and denied an abortion in mostly Catholic Ireland. The religious-medical-legal-moral confluence of her demise has brought to fore the status of zygotes, embryos and fetuses. Are they full persons with human rights? Do they have moral value? Under what circumstances is it ethically permissible for an individual to seek or assist in an abortion?

The massive furore over Halappanavar’s death has compelled Ireland to tweak its anti-abortion policy and allow a termination of pregnancy once doctors determine that the mother’s life is at risk. But the Roman Catholic Church‘s opposition to abortion is a firm decree that stems from the conviction that a new person exists from the first moment of conception. While theologians argue that the existence of the soul is probable at the time of conception, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, proclaimed in 1975 that human biological life has value and must be protected, whether it has a spiritual soul or not.

A papal encyclical, The Gospel of Life: (Evangelium Vitae) states that “abortion is a direct violation of the fundamental right to life of the human being. ”

This belief has found resonance in public policies that protect biological life from fertilisation onwards. In 1983, The Right to Life of the Unborn Amendment was passed in Ireland. Germany assigned fetuses constitutional rights in 1993. In the United States, pro-life activists have succeeded in passing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which establishes separate penalties for individuals who knowingly or unknowingly harm an “unborn child” in the course of committing any of the over 60 listed federal crimes.

But despite the outrage of anti-abortionists, fanned by Church teachers, there are those who have braved moral censure and fought for the freedom of women (and girls) to choose whether to continue or terminate their pregnancies. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of Women in Africa (African Union, 2003) is perhaps the first document to call on member states to protect women’s reproductive rights by authorising abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, fetal impairment, and where continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the woman. In the mid-1990 s, conferences sponsored by the United Nations, like the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as the Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women, affirmed the ideas of sexual and reproductive rights.

In India, abortion laws fall under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MPT) Act. Only qualified doctors can perform abortions in an approved clinic or hospital. However, the ‘pro-life-pro-choice ‘ debate is tainted with the country’s regressive practice of sex-selective abortions, borne of a widespread preference for the male child. Given the popularity of the unqualified midwife, the mushrooming of pigeon-hole “clinics” and the rampant promotion of “Abortion by Tablets” on flimsy cardboard signboards, the freedom to terminate a pregnancy is sometimes abused as a convenient way of getting rid of a female fetus.

While there is no surgical solution to the abortion issue that can cut away from moral ambiguity or medical irresponsibility, one thing must be agreed upon by lawmakers and religious keepers – the process of bringing a child into the world should also bring joy to both mother and her newborn.


Ignorance about abortion being legal adds to maternal mortality rate

PATNA: Only 25% of Bihari women know that abortion is legally valid. According to a survey, around 5.8 lakh induced abortions are conducted in Bihar every year, majority of which are performed outside the recognized government centres. This contributes significantly to maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state, which currently stands at 261/10,000, much higher than the national average of 212.

Several factors contribute to the state women opting for abortion outside the accredited abortion centres. They include absence of competent health professionals in rural areas and high abortion cost at big hospitals in the cities.

There is an urgent need to check unsafe abortions, with provision of safe abortion at affordable price, said health secretary Sanjay Kumar. He said the first step towards this is to make both the women and the community at large aware about the legality of abortions.

He said the state government has already initiated measures in this regard by granting accreditation to private hospitals which, during the first three months of conception, provide free abortion as well as redressing complexities arising post-abortion. This would help in more and more such centres coming forward for providing safe abortion and enhancing the services offered by them, Kumar said, adding the move would also help in containing the cost of abortion. Kumar said till January this year, 124 health institutes have applied for being attached to this scheme. Three such centres have already been given accreditation, he added.

The state health department has identified 16 priority areas to streamline health scenario in the state and bring down the MMR below the national average in the next five years. Incidentally, to reduce MMR, which is alarmingly high in the state, the state government had declared 2011 as ‘Safe Motherhood Year’.

To bring down the MMR, the government has taken measures like increasing institutional deliveries (IDs), appointment of women health workers such as Mamta in government hospitals across the state for better care of mother and child, and launching of ‘Yukti Yojana’ for providing accreditation to private institutions to provide proper facilities for monitoring of pregnancy and ensuring safe delivery, said Kumar.

He said during the last five years, the state has registered phenomenal increase in IDs, as 13.83 lakh IDs were performed at government hospitals in 2010-11, against a meagre 1.17 lakh in 2004-05. However, only around 40% of women in the age group of 15-34 still go for institutional delivery in Bihar

FASS-  Besides matremal mortality, the issue of sex selection and dwindling child sex ratio cannot be dealt without also talking about legallity of abortion under certain conditions.

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