11/02/2009, 00.00
INDIA
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Prison and fines for two doctors: engaged in prenatal diagnosis to “select a son"

by Nirmala Carvalho
Pascoal Carvalho, a physician and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life: selective abortion is "a malaise in Indian society." For about 70% of couples who resort to in vitro fertilization it is only to make sure they have a son. In last 20 years, India has recorded at least 10 million selective abortions of female fetuses.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A municipal court in Mumbai sentenced to three years prison two doctors who practiced prenatal diagnosis to “select a son".

The magistrate RV Jambkar of  Dadar Shindewadi Court considered the two defendants guilty of four breaches of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT) of 2003 which prohibits the selection of unborn children from sex.

The two convicted are Chhaya Tated, a 42 year old homeopath, and Shubhangi Adkar, a 62 year old doctor who two Sundays a month, preformed pre-natal diagnosis at Shree Maternity and Nursing Home in the municipality of Dadar. In November 2004 they published an advertisement in a magazine which offered a special treatment for couples who "want a son." In addition to three years imprisonment, the court imposed the payment of a fine of 30 thousand rupees each (about 430 Euros), the maximum penalty provided by PNDT.

In India cases of imprisonment imposed for violation of PNDT are rare, but the judge gave reasons for his sentence stating that "when two respected people commit crimes that are not only abominable, but also against the existence of society, they can not be treated with leniency" . The two convicts, said Jambkar RV, "with their actions encourage the establishment of the female sex of the fetus to prevent some pregnancies”.    

Over the past 20 years, India has recorded at least 10 million selective abortions of female fetuses. They are in addition to the 11 million abortions performed every year since in the country where since 1971 the interruption of pregnancy has been legal. Indian law is one the most permissive on abortion which is advertised as the best method of birth control and a way of ensuring greater economic development for families.

Pascoal Carvalho, MD of Mumbai and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, tells AsiaNews that "the so-called 'femalegenocide’ is unfortunately a malaise of Indian society that is rooted in a culture that prefers the male and carries out violence against women”. 

For Carvalho the case of two men convicted by a court in Dadar Shindewadi is a "clear violation of PNDT," but stresses that 'female genocide' can happen by in vitro fertilization (IVF), which allows parents to choose the sex of the unborn child through pre-implantation diagnosis. "An expert who works in a fertility clinic, - said Carvalho - told me that now about 70% of patients did not need IVF, but resort to it in order to select the sex of  their child”.

 

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