As of now, under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, there is a ban on prenatal sex determination tests in India. However, a minister in the central government has recently suggested lifting the ban and making the sex test of fetus (foetus) mandatory. The reason provided by the learned minister behind such suggestion is that after registering the sex of the fetus, it will be possible for the government to properly monitor and keep a track of, “each and every”, fetus, as well as, the pregnant lady.
First of all, I would like to thank the minister, who is coincidently a female too, for such a noble thought to monitor and keep a track of “each and every”, pregnant lady. This will indeed help in looking after their health, safety etcetera. However, in the present scenario, how far it is practically feasible to keep a track of every single pregnant lady is a well-known fact and a lot of work needs to be done in this field, in order to, make this thought a reality. But, being optimistic, I do hope that this thought could soon be turned into a reality.
Although, the thought of monitoring the pregnant ladies to assist them is undoubtedly a welcome step, however, the question is that for doing so, what is the need to know the sex of the fetus? I failed to understand that what purpose it will serve by knowing the gender of the fetus? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring every fetus safely in this world, irrespective of its gender? If that’s so, then what is the requirement to know its gender? If the only thought behind that suggestion is to monitor “each and every” fetus, then why is the minister emphasising on the need to know the gender? What is the need of lifting the ban on prenatal sex determination tests? Can’t they simply register every pregnant lady and thereafter monitor their status? Where will the criteria of the fetus being male or female stop them from doing so?
Now, the question is whether the ban on sex determination tests should be lifted or not? Before lifting the ban on anything one need to dig into the reason that why that particular thing was banned, at the very first place, as well as, analyse the impact post banning that thing. At the same time, we should be aware that before talking about the relevance of lifting the ban or not, it’s more important to know what purpose this prenatal sex determination test will serve at all. Does knowing the gender of the fetus helps, in any ways, in bringing it safely into this world? The answers to all such questions should be known before any decision is taken on lifting the ban or not.
Also, before advocating the lifting of the ban on prenatal sex determination tests, we need to analyse the trend of killing a female fetus in countries where it is not banned. The reality is that in most of the countries where the prenatal sex determination test is not banned, there is no trend of aborting a fetus because of it being a female. As such, there is no need of banning this thing in those countries. Hence, we should not simply list down the countries where it is not banned in favour of our arguments in lifting the ban; rather we should look into the matter after considering our ground realities. Adopting things, as it is, just because that works in other countries could not be a logical reason to embrace that thing. We should be considerate and smart enough in our reasoning, as well as, actions too.
The prenatal sex determination tests were banned in India because of a steep rise in the killing of the female fetus in the womb itself, by people who suffer from sick mentality. Such sick minded people want a male child in the hope that he will carry on their lineage, he will be their support in the old age and there will be less expenditure incurred in growing up a male child as compared to dowry etcetera required in the case of a female child. As it is very much clear from the reasons mentioned in the last statement that there is no logic behind killing the female fetus but only the sick mentality of the people involved in such actions. Hence, the ban on prenatal sex determination tests was opted as a measure, by the government, to ensure that the fetus is not aborted with the only reason of it being a female child.
In the present time, when determining the sex of the fetus is ban in India the situation is still alarming because a lot many diagnostic centres illegally tests and confirms the gender of the fetus after charging exorbitant fees. Post knowing the sex, a lot many female fetuses is still being killed in the womb itself. Already, tracking devices/GPS are installed on sonography machines, but still, the condition is not such that we can relax and pat our back, on the steps taken from our end. This is the reality when the prenatal sex determination test is ban, so we can just imagine what will be the case when there is no ban on knowing the gender of the fetus. Will we be able to stop killing of the female fetus in the womb after the ban is lifted from the test?
Although, the actual impact of banning could only be known by the statistical figures which will depict whether banning the test has resulted in bringing down the cases of killing female fetus in womb or not, however, anyone who keeps their eyes and ears open, could very well confirm that the cases has surely come down and people are more awakened about this issue. Indeed the contribution of governments is remarkable in bringing the awareness and controlling the illegal cases of killing the female fetus in our country. But still, there is a long path to travel and if any wrong step is taken then it will surely hamper our efforts towards achieving the desired goals. As such, we should be extra cautious before suggesting or taking decisions in such serious matters.
Hope we don’t take actions that backfire against us and impact our society in a negative way. I wish that the Almighty give good sense to all of us.
God bless you all.