The state government has stepped up its efforts to curb female foeticide in the state. It apprised the Legislative Assembly of the new programme that will keep a check on the social and medical evil.
The state plans to make relatives, who force women in their family to abort pregnancies, equally responsible and prosecute them for the crime.
“Relatives, who force women in their family to abort pregnancies, will be arrested and prosecuted,” said public health minister Suresh Shetty, adding that the districts where female infanticide cases were high would be closely monitored.
Shetty said, in reply to a calling attention notice, that standalone sonography or ultrasound centres will not be allowed to operate in the state.
He said only trained radiologist and gynaecologists will run sonography centres. Radiologists, who are hired by other centres for sonography findings, will be allowed attachment with only two recognised centres or hospitals.
All-party legislators raised the issue following several cases of female infanticide in Beed district of Marathwada. The state will also ban mobile sonography or ultrasound machines to avoid their illegal use.
“We will also determine the age limit of the foetus for abortion. We will not allow abortions at the age when sex determination of the foetus becomes easier,” Shetty said.
Patients, who travel from one district to another for sonography tests will also be watched. “The hospitals have been asked to inform district health authorities about migratory patients,” said Shetty.
Citing a recent high court order, Shetty said all the cases in which doctors were arrested and booked, would be disposed of by December 31 this year. “District courts in the state have been informed of this and we will appoint special public prosecutors to help the government assure a jail sentence for the culprits.” So far, 182 police cases have been registered and 17 persons convicted, said the minister.
Shetty said 282 sonography centres in the state were sealed in a month’s time. “There are 7,939 sonography centres in the state, of which 6,517 were checked for illegal practices.”
Suppliers and manufactures of the sonography machines have been asked to submit monthly reports to the government.
“Only licensed doctors or hospitals are allowed to buy sonography machines. The manufactures have been asked take affidavits from hospitals or doctors stating that the machines would be used only for clinical purposes.”