India: New Delhi Officials Cracking Down on Misuse of Ultrasound for Sex-Selection Abortions

International   |   Dave Andrusko   |   Dec 29, 2014   |   6:47PM   |   New Delhi, India

According to the Indian Express newspaper, local health authorities in New Delhi are beginning to crack down on the use of ultrasounds to facilitate sex-selective abortions—in virtually all cases, of girls.

In a story posted today, Pritha Chatterjee writes

In city-wide drive, the Health department cancelled registrations of 43 radiologists and clinics and sealed 11 machines for conducting sex determination of foetuses this year.

The move came after surprise inspections were conducted in radiology and genetic clinics to check for violations of PC & PNDT [Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques] Act.

sexselectionabortion16Beginning last April, the Family Welfare department has conducted nearly 300 inspections, according to Chatterjee. Out of the 300, “96 show cause notices were issued and 38 complaints investigated,” he writes.

“Besides cancelling 43 registrations, the Delhi government also filed court cases against five violators. It is now in the process of initiating legal proceedings against another five.”

Sex selective abortions are common in India. Having said that, while the sex ratio for the entire nation is 940 females for every 1,000 boys, it is even worse in New Delhi, the capital, where there are only 895 girls for every 1,000 boys.

According to the story, authorities are pressing both for better reporting and to address “loopholes” to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act –which are being “abused”– “to bring down sex selective abortions.”

A “source” told Chatterjee.

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At several ultrasound clinics, records of the mandatory ‘Form F’ — which radiologists have to fill before every ultrasound of a pregnant woman, indicating the number and gender of her previous children and the condition warranting ultrasound — were not being maintained. In most cases, we found these forms were not filled when the first child or even more than one child were girls.

Referring to the “loopholes,” other sources told Chatterjee

The law says MTPs are permitted if there is proof to establish that pregnancy has occurred despite the use contraception. This is being used as a ground to seek abortions, an official said.

The official said the existing law also permits MTPs where continuation of the pregnancy causes “grave injury to the mental health of a woman.”

“Sometimes, basic records of treatment of mental health disorders, often diagnosed by a general practitioner, are provided as records for MTPs. These records should ideally not be accepted,” the official said. Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared at National Right to Life News Today.