Gender of the foetus


Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi’s suggestion of making the sex determination test mandatory, so that registration of pregnant women can be facilitated to curb female foeticide, is commendable but not pragmatic (“ >No cabinet move to track sex of foetus: Ministry”, Feb.3 and “ >Let’s register sex of foetus, says Maneka”, Feb.2). Apart from being a gargantuan task, there is a real danger of mother and baby being neglected once the gender is known.

Buddhadev Nandi,

Bishnupur, West Bengal

Ms. Maneka Gandhi must be lauded for her radical suggestion, but there are also concerns. For example, there are a number of “educated” families who want a male child and who will never come to terms with or even accept a girl. They are known to induce a miscarriage and claim it to be “spontaneous abortion”. Besides skewing the gender ratio even further, the new idea may also endanger the expectant mother’s health. Is it really possible to track and verify such cases?

C. Sujatha,


The Minister’s idea can have catastrophic consequences and totally undermine India’s strategy to combat the sex-ratio discrepancy. In 1990, when ultrasonography became a popular method of sex determination, sex-selective abortion became a lucrative industry. It was in 1994 that the PCPNDT Act helped curb female foeticide to a great extent. Unless progressive measures for the girl child are instituted in the fields of education and health, she will continue to get a raw deal in life.

Dr. A Sumithra Shanmugham,


As the former vice-president of the Family Planning Association of India and also a governing council member of the International Planning Parenthood Federation actively engaged in combatting female foeticide, I support the Minister’s idea. The scheme would serve as a deterrent to persons resorting to a premature termination of pregnancy in the event of the foetus being female. One is not sure, however, whether the step will be looked upon as an infringement on the right to privacy.

S. Suryanarayanan,

NSW, Australia

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 8:56:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/gender-of-the-foetus/article8189413.ece

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