New Delhi: Condemning the approach of the country's highest medical body, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), to transparency in the PCPNDT Act, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) flayed the stand taken by Dr. Santanu Sen, President, IAM, for seeking 'comprehensive review, repeal and re-conception' of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, which is aimed at checking the practice of female foeticide related to pre-natal sex selection.
In a statement, AIDWA has deplored the fact that the President and General Secretary of IMA consider it a 'harassment' for doctors to maintain transparency of their practice by complying with the rules and regulations of the Act.
“It may be pointed out that the Act does not represent 'a layman's approach' and it was only after extensive consultations with eminent medical experts that it was finalised by a Parliamentary Committee and then passed in Parliament. It is by no means an Act against obstetricians and radiologists, but seeks to penalize only those who use USG and other methods illegally for pre-conception and prenatal sex selection” the statement read.
It also stated that while the problem of son-preference is no doubt a social problem, identification of sex of the unborn child and elimination of the female foetus would be impossible without the intervention of a section of people inside the medical profession.
The women's organisation said people in the medical profession "cannot shake off their responsibility to stand up against this social evil and ensure that son-preference is not further reinforced through their own stand. A powerful body like the IMA is duty-bound to generate awareness against son-preference at all levels instead of pushing the burden of such measures on the Government alone”
AIDWA said researchers had pointed out that the Act did bring a decline in the rate of sex-selective abortions and helped reduce the alarming fall in sex ratio and that the women's organisation had always demanded stricter implementation of the Act.
Therefore, they have requested all the members of IMA to refrain from contributing to this resurgence by endorsing a demand which may distort the sex ratio further and threaten the survival of the girl child, the release added.