We strongly protest against the letter sent by the Maharashtra government to the Centre to amend the PCPNDT Act, 1994 so that sex selection can be treated as murder, punishable under section 302 of the IPC.First of all abortion should not be referred to as foeticide, which had anti-abortion implications. Women had the right to decide when and whether or not they should bear and give birth to children. Making sex-selective abortions (wrongly referred to as “female foeticide”) a murder charge, would only increase illegal abortions and also make access to safe abortion difficult.
All these years, women’s groups were fighting against sex selection not abortion. Now after Census 2011 and a huge dip in child sex ratio, the government has gone on the other extreme by trying to equate abortion with homicide.Womens movement has always demanded the continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centers, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centers. Instead of concentrating on this issue and doctors who misuse medical technology, the discussion in the letter focuses on abortions.
According to the PCPNDT Act, sex selection (the correct legal term) itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions under the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra.
Safe and legal abortion is a woman’s right and abortion is legal in India. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP Act) spells out the conditions under which it can be carried out. Sex-selective abortion, however, amounts to discrimination against a particular sex, in most cases, female sex. Sex-selection in favour of the male child is a symptom of devaluation of female lives. It is important to remember that those who want to use abortion for elimination of the female foetus have to first determine the sex of the child. Rightly, it is this process of pre-natal selection which is a crime, and it is being regulated and monitored through the Preconception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) (PCPNDT) Act.
Unless we are able to deal with all those social and economic factors that are going into the culture of son-preference and daughter-aversion, the child sex ratio will go on plummeting. But the solution is not to curb the legal right to abortion. Rather the PCPNDT Act should be enforced, and clinics that offer prenatal sex testing should be weeded out.
We condemn the demand to make abortion a crime and urged the government to stop using anti-abortion stand for curbing the plummeting child sex ratio. Checking pre-natal sex selection required the proper implementation of the PCPNDT Act and monitoring of sex-selective procedures by the government. It could not be achieved by introducing such draconian measures that curb women’s right to safe and legal abortion.
We demand that the law deals strictly with those who perform the crime of sex selection. The political protection to erring doctors is a serious problem in Maharashtra and the state government should take steps to put an end to political interference in implementation of PCPNDT Act, rather than focusing on abortion.
We do not endorse the view that abortion is homicide ,even as we fully agree that sex selective abortion is a crime that must be punished as per the PCPNDT Act. We demand the Centre to rejects Maharashtra Goverment’s recommendation to treat sex selection as homicide under Sec 302-IPC
Forum against Sex Selection ( Akshara Committed Communities Development Trust, Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Population Population first,Stree Mukti Sanghthana, Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre , Women Networking )
I support FASS ,in their demand and urge you to reject Maharshtra Governments recommendation to amend the PCPNDT Act, 1994 so that sex selection can be treated as murder, punishable under section 302 of the IPC
- FASS protests Maharashtra govt’s plans to slap murder charges for sex selection (fassmumbai.wordpress.com)