Over 250 activists and groups have protested against the recent suggestions
by two MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly that “female foeticide” be treated
A letter sent to Speaker Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday, at the initiative of
the Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS), a network of 22 organisations and
over 16 individuals, expressed concern at the statements made by Pankaja
Munde-Palve (BJP) and Jitendra Avhad (NCP) that female “foeticide” be
treated as murder and culprits be booked for the offence of murder under
Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
The letter said that 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.
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.
The letter said: “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
The letter condemned 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.
The letter was endorsed by the FASS, Mumbai; health activist Manisha Gupte
of the MASUM, Pune; Vibhuti Patel, Head, Department of Economics, SNDT
University, Mumbai; S. Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social
Sciences; Mohan Rao, the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health,
JNU, New Delhi; Chayanika Shah, researcher and activist, Mumbai; and Uma
Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal
*The UID project i**s going to do almost exactly the same thing which the
predecessors of Hitler did, else how is it that Germany always had the lists
You cannot build anything on the foundations of caste. You cannot build up a
nation, you cannot build up a morality. Anything that you will build on the
foundations of caste will crack and will never be a whole.