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    » 02/18/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Government to sanction 100 doctors for performing selective abortion and female foeticide

    Nirmala Carvalho

    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.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - India's central government has identified about a hundred doctors who will be sanctioned for carrying out selective abortions and female foeticides in the country.

    The Health Ministry sent the Medical Council of India a list of doctors who violated the 1994 Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, which bans prenatal sex determination tests and imposes sentences of six months to five years on violators, plus the suspension or cancellation of their medical license.

    This is a positive step, Dr Pascoal Carvalho told AsiaNews, because "using strong deterrence measures can help prevent similar forms of discrimination and punish the guilty."

    According to the Children in India 2012: A Statistical Appraisal, a study released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, at least three million girls were missing in 2011 as a result of selective abortions and female foeticide.

    "This loss will have serious moral, social and economic consequences," said Dr Carvalho, who is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. "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."

    Sadly, "in India, boys are preferred to girls for cultural reasons and this is connected to economic factors," he explained.

    Traditionally, girls are educated and raised to become wives, but they can get married only if they bring a dowry (money, jewels and various material goods). Even when they get married, women have to give birth to a boy to earn respect.

    In addition, in some regions of India, the practice of sati still occurs, whereby widows are expected to throw themselves on their husbands' funeral pyre. Hindu tradition requires women to show devotion to their dead husbands through voluntary self-immolation, a practice that allows families to rid themselves of women who have become an economic burden.

    A widespread 'culture of death' underlies "selective abortions and female foeticides," Dr Carvalho noted. "The Catholic Church instead promotes a culture of life through its educational and health ministries. This way, it protects the life and dignity of girls as well as defends, values and encourage young women and opposes all forms of discrimination and violation of their rights."

    What is more and contrary to widespread belief, selective abortion and female foeticide are also commonplace among middle and upper class Indians. "A study titled Skewed Sex Rations in India: Physician, Heal Thyself found that there are more boys than girls in the families of medical doctors," Dr Carvalho noted.

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    See also

    10/10/2012 INDIA
    Three million girls "missing" as a result of selective abortions and infanticide
    The 2011 figures are from a study released by India's Central Statistical Organisation. Tomorrow, the world marks International Day of the Girl. "Government, civil society and families should work closely together" against patriarchal gender bias, says doctor member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Maharashtra wants selective abortion to be treated as murder.

    14/12/2006 INDIA
    Catholic Church against gender discrimination in India
    In India every seven minutes a woman dies from pregnancy-related complications. Millions of female foeticides are executed every year. Mgr Fernandes urges concrete steps taken against all forms of gender discrimination.

    28/01/2013 INDIA
    Karnataka, 20 fetuses found under a bridge, they were all girls
    Found in the district of Belgaum, where, the imbalance between males and females under the age of 6 is 931 girls per 1000 boys. Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life: selective abortions and female feticide are the worst form of violence against women.

    13/01/2006 INDIA
    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.

    14/12/2011 INDIA
    Eight arrests after selective female abortion racket uncovered
    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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