Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Illegal abortion: Two–year jail for doctors

Recently, a court in Faridkot, Punjab sentenced two doctors to 2–year imprisonment for indulging in illegal abortion. In this case, both the doctors helped in the termination of a three–month fetus deeming it to be female fetus but after abortion, the fetus was found to be male. The wrong sex determination and its termination led to a lot of protest and uproar by the same family which went for abortion thinking the fetus was a female. The case happened in January 2007 when one of the doctors concluded from an ultrasound examination that the fetus was female and on the request of the family members, it was terminated by another doctor. The case opens a lot of questions:
1. Sex determination is still taking place in Punjab?
2. Termination of pregnancy is still being done if the fetus is female.
3. Ultrasound can often misdiagnose a male fetus as female; not seeing a male organ in the fetus does not mean that the fetus is female.
4. In such cases, the family which also consents for abortion invariably comes out free of blame and it is the doctor who faces the punishment.
5. Action should have been taken not only against the doctors but also against the parents who consented for the abortion.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief
Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

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