“Clinics using assisted reproductive technology being monitored”

“Awareness should be created among the people to be impartial to children irrespective of their gender. We can end sex selection and selective abortion only by creating awareness”, said V. Radharani, Joint Director of Health Services, in Madurai on Sunday.

Speaking at the training organised as a part of Campaign Against Sex Selective Abortion (CASSA), she said that the district administration had been monitoring the functioning of scan centres and clinics using assisted reproductive technology (ART). “We keep a close vigil on the scan centres and scrutinise the monthly reports obtained from them to check whether sex-selective abortions are carried out illegally after conducting sex determination tests,” she said.

“In order to regulate the use of new reproductive technologies, we mandate the clinics with ART to submit reports on the numbers and gender of children born through ART. Most clinics however do not produce the reports. We are planning to monitor them more closely”, she added. According to Mrs Radharani, including anganwadi teachers and anganwadi attendants from each village in the monitoring committee could curb the illegal and sex-selective abortions in the villages. CASSA members also insisted that NGOs should be included in the monitoring committee for the strict implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 2002.

The participants of the campaign also emphasised that a close vigil should be kept on the scan centres and other clinics in Melur to curb illegal abortions and sex determination in Madurai. “There are more than 4000 scan centres in the State. For 1,000 men, there are only 952 women in Tamil Nadu. In fifteen districts in the State, the percentage of girl children as compared to boy children under the age of 6 is low”, said M. Jeeva, core team member of CASSA.

R. Anandhavalli, district social welfare officer, while speaking on the occasion insisted that awareness should be created predominantly in the villages on the importance of family planning and against female infanticide. The two-day training programme focuses on ways for strict implementation of the PCPNDT Act, technology in sex determination, violence against women and the economic and social impact due to decline in the ratio of girl children.

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