Govt has no formal plans for sex determination, clarifies Maneka

Govt has no formal plans for sex determination, clarifies Maneka
Government has no plans to determine and register foetuses and monitor delivery of those that are female, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi clarified on Tuesday.

Following strong opposition from women’s rights organisation to the proposal, the WCDMinistry released a statement reiterating that Gandhi was merely putting across a suggestion for “public debate” and as “alternative point of view.”

“In my personal view, the woman should be compulsorily told that whether it is a boy or girl child whom she is going to give birth. It should be registered to be able to check whether they have given the births or not," PTI quoted the minister as saying at All India Regional Editors’ Conference in Jaipur.  “We cannot keep catching people doing ultrasound,” she said, adding arresting the offenders was not a permanent solution.

Women’s rights organisations on Tuesday termed such a policy “retrograde” and “in contravention of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, where the disclosure of the sex of the foetus is itself the prime offence.”

“Civil society groups also express astonishment at such a proposal emerging from the Ministry which will severely curtail women’s rights to bodily autonomy and ability to access essential maternal healthcare, such as safe and legal abortion services or post-abortion care,” said All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights and others in a joint statement.

“The Minister must be aware that unsafe abortions significantly contribute to the very high maternal deaths in India, and such rules will contribute to further maternal deaths,” the statement said.

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