India Couple Arrested for Sex-Selection Abortions, Dumped Babies in Well

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

India Couple Arrested for Sex-Selection Abortions, Dumped Babies in Well Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 10, 2006

Patran, India ( — A couple in India has been arrested by government officials who conducted an investigation into an illegal clinic they ran. The husband, a former army soldier, had been posing as a doctor and had been doing illegal sex-selection abortions.

The Asian nation is trying to crack down on them as its gender imbalance problems continue.

Investigators found several of the bodies of the aborted babies thrown down a well located behind the clinic.

According to The Advertiser newspaper in Australia, the former solider, Pritam Singh, has pretended to be a doctor for years and has been assisted by his wife, Amarjit Kaur.

Jagveer Singh, the lead investigating officer, said the two delivered numerous babies but also helped women and couples determine the sex of a baby so a sex-selection abortion could be done.

While abortion is legal in India, determining the gender of a baby before birth is not because it leads to the abortions of girls and infanticides.

Singh retired from the army in 1987 and set up the clinic, Singh told The Advertiser.

"Under the guise of a maternity clinic, he carried out illegal abortions and killed female fetuses,” he told the newspaper.

Police found out about the clinic after the couple fired a woman who assisted in the births. She told authorities the couple was dumping the babies in the well.

Last month, the Indian government proposed amendments to the laws that are intended to stop sex-selection abortions and infanticides of female babies.

The department of women and child development has recommended amendments to the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act and Rules.

The department wants to put more pressure on local officials to enforce the national law by holding magistrates and divisional commissioners accountable for low male-female ratio in their areas.

In May, government officials suspended eleven doctors who illegally used ultrasound machines to tell the sex of an unborn child to her parents so they can have an abortion.

The abortions and infanticides have produced a very skewed male-female ratio, which could be as low as 500 or 600 females to 1,000 males in states like Punjab and Haryana.

In March, the first India doctor convicted under the law was jailed. Dr. Anil Sabhani, and his assistant, Kartar Singh, in Haryana, will face two years in prison for violating the new law.

Local authorities sent fake patients to his clinic after reports surfaced showing he was violating the statute.

As many as 6 to 10 million girls have been aborted in the last twenty years according to Italian officials and media estimates.

Based on the gender ratio in other countries, a January Lancet study estimated that 136 to 138 million girls should have been born in 1997 in India, for example, but only 131 million births of girls was reported.

"We conservatively estimate that prenatal sex determination and selective abortion accounts for 0.5 million missing girls yearly," The Lancet article said.

Census figures appear to back the study. From 1991 to 2001, the number of girls per 1000 boys declined from 945 to 927.