The Indian Minister for Women and the Development of Childhood “has suggested making prenatal gender testing mandatory in order to reduce the high level of female foeticides”.
Such tests are currently banned in India and carry a five-year prison sentence. This measure is aimed at “preventing female abortions by parents who only wish to have a boy”. However, the Minister in question, Manka Gandhi, thinks the opposite and believes that it would be “more effective” to establish the gender of the foetus from the start of pregnancy. “We have to change the current policy,” she explained, “every pregnant woman should have the right to know whether she is carrying a boy or a girl”. Furthermore, “every pregnant woman should be registered and followed up until the end of pregnancy to establish whether or not she gave birth and what happened”.
However, the idea has not met with unanimous approval: “This is not a very productive idea and could even aggravate the situation”, stated Ranjana Kumari, Director of the Centre for Social Research, a think tank based in Delhi. AIDWA, All India Democratic Women’s Association, a group defending women’s rights has also responded: “The Modi government must not surrender to commercial interests to the detriment of little girls” and views the proposal as “shocking”.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has, for his part, “encouraged Indians to stop killing female foetuses” because “the gender imbalance may have serious consequences”. According to a study published in the Lancet in 2011, “12 million female foetuses will have been aborted because of their gender over the last 30 years”.