Measure – 03: Ban Sex-Determination of Foetus
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)