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Topics: Pregnancy, Abortion
The practice of female foeticide is in direct violation of both the international convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) of 1979 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989. The CEDAW is considered to be equivalent to an international bill of rights for women, defining what constitutes discrimination and providing an agenda for action. Non-registration of medical facilities, the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, communication of the sex determination, and non-maintenance of records are all actions that violate the letter and spirit of both CEDAW and UNCRC.
The Govt. of India has taken steps to abolish female foeticide. The first legislation against female foeticide, enacted in 1978, banned the misuse of amniocentesis in government health care institutions. In 1994, a substantial legislation, the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act (PNDT) was adopted. This Act aimed to regulate diagnostic equipment by allowing for its use only in regulated institutions. In 2003, this law was amended and strengthened and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) of 2003. In addition to prohibiting determination and disclosure of the sex of the foetus and making it illegal to advertise pre-natal diagnostic capability, it recognizes the significant criminal role of doctors in contributing to this problem. The 2003 amendment to the PNDT Act is more explicit about the use, regulation and monitoring of prenatal diagnostic equipment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 1,00,000 for violators of the Act.
Because the legislation of abortion in1971 provided an outlet for families to avoid having female babies, the Amendment of the medical termination of pregnancy Act was drafted in 2002 to prevent the continued use of abortion as a means to such a destructive and unethical end. While it was established as illegal in 1971 to abort a healthy foetus, particularly that of a girl child, the Amendment of 2002 establishes strict guidelines as to where and by whom medical terminations of pregnancy may be carried out and imposes severe punishments, including imprisonment, on those who violate the Act.

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