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India’s disappearing daughters: Child sex ratios continue to plummet all over the country

June 13, 2017

India’s disappearing daughters: Child sex ratios continue to plummet all over the country

Exactly a month ago, Dr Mitu Khurana lost a 11-year-old court battle. This gutsy mother of twin daughters was the first woman in India to file a case under the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act — the great legal tool which is supposed to protect the lives of our unborn daughters. Her lengthy battle came to end in just five minutes when the Supreme Court dismissed it on a technicality.

Dr Khurana’s case is a well documented one and has been covered quite extensively by the Indian and foreign press. She is a doctor, married into a family of doctors, and more importantly — a strong and determined woman who never gave up. She had said that in 2005 when she was under heavy sedation, her in-laws had got an illegal sex determination test done in a high-end clinic in Jaipur. She had proof that this was an unregistered clinic and that the crucial Form F which records the woman’s consent to have an ultrasound had gone missing… all punishable offences under the PCPNDT Act.

And yet she lost.

Meanwhile in other parts of the country, sonographers or ultrasound specialists who do the very important task of scanning pregnant women to check fetal health, went on a one day strike in protest against what they called the draconian PCPNDT Act. They wanted the Act amended because they said they were being persecuted for trivial reasons like a clerical error.

“Look at the piles of paperwork to be done for every single scan,” said an exasperated sonologist at a conference on sex selective abortion. “If I slip on even a single one, I can get arrested and my ultrasound machine can be locked. I came into this field because I was interested in fetal health. Now I regret it. This was once the most popular specialisation for gynaecologists. Now the youngsters are afraid to get into this field.”

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