Impotent Initiative to Fight Feticide

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?

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  • I wrote about this late last night…looks like we tend to home in on some sim­i­lar sto­ries. Great minds think alike huh. 😉
    Com­ing to this sub­ject. I think this idea of reg­is­ter­ing preg­nan­cies is not going to achieve what it plans to achieve.
    and abt the award, I have decid­ed on 2, am look­ing for a third. you will have it next week for sure.

  • Oops — I can’t tell you how many times it has hap­pened that just when I planned to write about some­thing, I saw you’d already post­ed about it! 🙂

    Yes, like you say, this is a half-baked ini­tia­tive. And uncon­sti­tu­tion­al too.

    I’m look­ing for­ward to your awardees!