ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Life-giving Leadership

The medical fraternity must lead from the front against female foeticide.

The recent horrific incident in Beed, Maharashtra, where a doctor couple were allegedly conducting sex-selective abortions on women who were well past the safe period, is another reminder of the challenges of dealing with an issue that has societal and legal aspects. Despite the law and concerted campaigns, the practice of sex-selective abortion – much like dowry and child marriage – continues to flourish. While law enforcers and the medical professionals who actually perform sex-selective abortions blame this on a patriarchal society’s demand for sons, it is clear that the problem will not end unless both the government and the medical profession pull their weight.

The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex ­Selection) (PNDT) Act, 1994 was amended in 2003 to ­become the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. This was done to take into account techno­logical advances and to cover loopholes in the previous law. However despite this, implementation of the law has been lax as is evident from the abysmal conviction rate. A meeting called by the union health ministry in November last year to discuss stricter implementation of the law revealed that only 55 convictions had been achieved out of 805 cases filed in 17 states over the entire course of the implementation of this Act. Shoddy ­investigation coupled with inadequate evidence had been ­responsible for many cases not resulting in any conviction.

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