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Measure – 03: Ban Sex-Determination of Foetus

March 1, 2008

India passed the PreNatal Diagnostics Testing (PNDT) act in 1994 to combat the growing incidence of sex-selective foeticide. The act prohibits pre-conception sex-selection, prenatal sex-determination as well as advertising of sex-determination tests. Under this law, those found guilty of administering or taking pre-natal tests solely to determine the sex of a fetus could invite penalties of 3-years in prison and a fine of about Rs. 10,000/- (about $250).

An Act to provide for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception, and for regulation of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for the purpose of detecting abnormalities or metabolic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities or certain congenital malformations or sex-linked disorders and for the prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female feticide and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

To address the emerging technologies that aided prenatal sex-determination – (in 1994 it were mainly ultrasound and amniocentesis tests available) – and to address the difficulties experienced in implementing the act, amendments to this law were proposed by CEHAT and ORS and which were passed into law in Feb 2003.

There is a general consensus that the act has failed to stop sex-selective abortions in India. In a separate posting, I will look at some of the factors that have been cited for this failure.

(Here is a powerpoint presentation explaining the PNDT Act of 1994)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Inders permalink
    June 21, 2008 5:58 am

    Here in the UK, although sex determination is not banned. Doctors often refuse to carry this out for Asian parents because the chances are higher that Female infanticide will occur.

  2. Mr. Singh permalink*
    June 21, 2008 1:31 pm

    That’s encouraging (and also the same time, sad) to hear. I wonder what is it about the medical community in the UK that explains this stance of the doctors? Can we learn something from it to cultivate similar norms in the medical community in India?

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