» 01/13/2006, 00.00
Doctors must be more responsible vis-à-vis abortion, says Indian Church
The secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference is shocked by the Lancet study on selective abortions on India and stresses the need for ethics in the medical profession.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) "It does not make any difference whether it is female foetuses of male foetuses that are aborted. Both are murders of humans by humans and are to be absolutely condemned," said Mgr Percival Fernandez, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI). He was shocked by the Lancet report according to which 10 million girls were not born as a result of selective abortion. Despite a law banning the practice, it is widespread in many hospital or medical clinics across the country.
In an interview with AsiaNews, the prelate, who is a former director of the St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, reiterated the need for ethics in the medical profession.
Mgr Fernandez calls for medical student to do rural service to give them "first hand knowledge about the plight of the teeming millions of Indians who live in the villages".
The prelate is seriously concerned by the magnitude of the abortion issue in India. "It is a reflection on the decadent morality of society," he said. "People's conscience has been dulled," he noted, adding that "aborting a male or female foetus is the same crime against human life and the Creator".
"Remedial measures are to be urgently taken to put an end to this silent dance of death on female foetuses," said Fr Joseph Babu, spokesman for the CBCI.
"Life is a precious gift from the Creator. It is not to be destroyed, but is instead to be nurtured. And it becomes everyone's and the nation's sacred duty to uphold the right of women to be born and be part of the world.
Finally, Father Babu warned that the issue is already having "serious social repercussions on gender equality which is already reaching an unsustainable level".
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A couple of doctors and their support staff ran the racket. According to India’s 2011 census, the country’s sex ratio is just 940 females per 1000 males, more skewed in cities than in rural areas. According to a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, men will outnumber women by 20 per cent in 20 years.
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The programme has been announced by the central government and is aimed at poor families in 7 states. The target is to discourage the illegal, but still widespread practise of female foeticide.
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India's Health Ministry and Medical Council reveal the nation-wide problem. "Choosing the sex [of newborns] is an expression of the lack of respect for women, and one of the causes of rising crimes against them," a member of the Pontifical Academy of Life says.
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