This is to be read to be believed. The Indian Government’s Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury has proposed that all pregnant women (and girls) in India, register their pregnancies with the Government. What is this supposed to achieve? Reduce female feticide.
Some activists said the government’s plan to create a pregnancy register in a country of 1.1 billion people — where more than 50 percent of women deliver children at home without medical assistance — was unrealistic.
Not everybody’s agreeing:
“We cannot give elementary health services in a satisfactory way to most of our citizens, and to talk about registering pregnancies is ridiculous,” said Alok Mukhopadhyay, head of the Voluntary Health Association of India. “Public awareness, empowerment of women and extension of health services are key in fighting infant mortality and feticide, as well as implementing the existing laws that forbid sex determination.”
I couldn’t agree more. And what does the UNICEF have to say?
“Registering pregnancies is good,” said Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s head of health in India. “If we act upon mothers by registering pregnancies, offering quality ante-natal care, good counseling to deal with complications and an efficient transportation network…this would enormously help promote institutional deliveries and strengthen and expand the safe maternity scheme,” Babille added.
What did Renuka Chowdhury offer Marzio for saying this — a free vacation to Goa? Oh, I forget, when did the UN care about individual rights?
Don’t be fooled by the ridiculous nature of the proposal — it is more insidious than you think. Forget feticide. This proposal infringes on the fundamental right to privacy of all Indians. This is a serious offence, and I expect that a lawsuit will soon follow demonstrating the unconstitutionality of the proposal. This can never be turned into law in India. We need different measures to tackle female infanticide, not infringing on individual rights.
I’m surprised that Renuka Chowdhury is even engaging in this kind of publicity campaign. Isn’t it rather demeaning of her? Does she have support within her own government for this stunt?
Our Union Health Minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, whom I respect at least for openly saying that we need our own Mr. Condom, said: “We should be ashamed”. But, alas, it was in the context of India’s infant mortality rate (57 per 1,000 live births). Well, one can hope, can’t one?