Indian ministers intend to introduce “eugenic” abortions says Indian Health Minister

A new Bill will be put forward in India which will remove legal safeguards for unborn babies and likely permit abortion up until birth for babies with serious disabilities, in what the Minister for Health is calling “eugenic” abortion.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971) abortion is permitted without restriction in India up until the 12th week of pregnancy. Abortion is then permitted up until the 20th week of pregnancy with the approval of two doctors.

An amendment to this Bill is currently being drafted which will aim to increase the availability of abortion and even permit abortion up until birth if the baby has a serious disability.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the ministry was in the process of finalising the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Draft Amendment Bill, 2019.

The Minister said: “The Ministry [of Health] has proposed to amend the MTP Act, 1971, to… expand access to abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian and social grounds.”

The move to increase abortion access in India comes at the same time as a series of Bills across the Commonwealth seeking to do the same. In New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia, Bills which make abortion legal up until birth are going through their parliaments, and the Parliament in Westminster has just voted to remove all legal safeguards surrounding abortion in Northern Ireland through to 28-weeks.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said:

“It is astounding to hear the Minister of Health speak so candidly about ‘eugenic’ abortion. Eugenic abortions frequently happen in the West but they are rarely characterised as such. For example, approximately 90% of babies in the UK diagnosed in the womb with Down’s syndrome are aborted.”

Sex-selective abortion eliminates all girls in dozens of villages in Northern India

Out of 216 births across dozens of villages in northern India over the last 3 months, not a single girl was born, recent data has revealed.

An investigation is currently underway as to why not a single girl was born in 132 villages across the Uttarkashi district, in Uttarakhand state in northern Indian over a three month period. India already has a imbalanced sex ratio with significantly less girls being born than boys.

Census data from 2011 showed there were 914 girls to every 1,000 boys for children up to the age of six, but in some northern states that ratio was as low as 850, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

India outlawed sex-selective abortion and pre-natal sex detection in 1994 in order to try to prevent a further sex imbalance and the associated ills which often accompany it.

Sex-selective abortion and infanticide remain common practices however due to the cultural preference for male children. Dowries for girls, despite being outlawed, are often expected and expensive, and boys are expected to take the role of breadwinners for the family. In which case, many families desire a son for economic reasons.

Social worker Kalpana Thakur said that the latest statistics from Uttarkashi district showed the authorities were not doing enough.

“No girl child was born for three months in these villages. It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything.”

A 2018 government report found about 63 million women were “missing” from the country’s population. This issue is explored in the documentary film it’s a girl.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a campaign in 2015 to try to address this problem. The campaign, called “Save the daughter, educate the daughter,” intended to enforce laws that forbid sex-selective abortion and diagnostic techniques used for female feticide.

This shocking news from India comes at the same time as an extreme abortion law is being forced on Northern Ireland which would permit sex-selective abortion in that region.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy said:

“It is a heartbreaking reality that some baby girls are aborted because they are female however, this is not just a problem limited to remote parts of India. There is a growing body of evidence that we have a sex-selective abortion problem here in the UK.

“It’s time for the Government to stop denying there is a problem here as well and to implement a ban on sex-selective abortion in the UK.

(Image credit AdobeStock: Pineapples)