by Steven Ertelt
September 14, 2006
Chandigarh, India (LifeNews.com) — People who inform the regional government in Haryana about illegal sex-selection abortions or the use of ultrasound machines to determine the sex of an unborn baby will receive rewards. The move is another attempt to help crack down on an out of control practice that is taking the lives of girls there.
The Haryana health department says it will pay informers about $215 dollars U.S. for information leading to the apprehension of violators. The money is significant in a nation where so many people live in poverty.
India officials also indicated they would pay another $215 for people willing to serve as pretend customers at medical clinics and doctor’s offices to help expose those who violate the laws.
According to the Telugu Portal, health authorities are trying to catch clinics in Kaithal town for violating the nation’s Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act. The measure requires that ultrasound only be used in legitimate medical circumstances, not to reveal the sex of a baby before birth.
Four centers in the town are at risk of losing their medical licenses and having their ultrasound machines confiscated. Officials believe they have violated the law.
Last month, a couple that ran a medical clinic where illegal sex-selection abortions were performed was arrested. Investigators found several of the bodies of the aborted babies thrown down a well located behind the clinic.
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.