The ultimate form of family planning?
Susmita Barman investigates how, despite the Indian government's attempt to clamp down on the use of techniques to select sex, female feticide still occurs
When the red and gold sign advertising a glut of diagnostic tests available at a private clinic disappeared, it never occurred to me that the health department had closed the clinic down. Neighbours told me that the doctors at the clinic had been secretly doing ultrasonography to determine the sex of fetuses and helping abort those that were female.
The closure of the clinic coincided with a news headline outlining the decision taken by the West Bengal government to implement the newly amended Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994. The act bans determination of sex and imposes fines and imprisonment on doctors who reveal the sex of a fetus to parents.1 Concerned at the increase in the male to female ratio and the number of female fetuses aborted, state health officials forced at least 18 nursing homes and private clinics to close.
A clinic I know