Explained: Why Is Determining The Sex of Your Fetus In India, Illegal?

The Women and Child Development Minister’s comment that “the woman should be compulsorily told whether it is a boy or girl child whom she is going to give birth to” has evoked sharp reaction. There is no formal proposal for prenatal sex determination and the idea is at the discussion stage, the Women and Child Development Ministry Maneka Gandhi has clarified amidst a raging debate over her remark that such a test be made compulsory to check female foeticide.

The Minister’s suggestion evoked sharp reaction from activists as it would result in lifting of the ban on prenatal sex determination under PCPNDT Act.

In India as the first line of defence against female foeticide, sex determination tests on pregnant women have been illegal since 1994.

The government banned the determination of a fetus under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation and Prevention of Misuse Act of 1994 which was amended in 2002. This was done to check an alarming decline in the number of girls born for every 1000 boys born in the country.

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