Nagpur News: Place: A plush gynaecological center at Dhantoli in Nagpur
Time: Morning 9.30, A day in December, 2012
The practitioner enters in with a crucial confirmation on her face as the man sits beside his wife, who is lying on the bed in a private ward under the influence of anaesthesia. “It’s done and you may be able to leave in another two hours. Check for the clearance before you are out”, instructed the lady doctor to the man. The incident, as is evident, is about a couple who sought medical termination of the pregnancy, and why? Just because they did not want a girl child. Insiders reveal that it was good 3 months foetus that was subjected to cruel end. More Shocking is the fact that the couple got the information about the sex of foetus from the same doctor.
The story is not an isolated one in Nagpur. It is repeated every other day in numbers that alarmingly keep on rising by the day. The upscale nursing homes, sonography clinics and child care centers are crowded with such cases. The expertise is put to illegal use as the sex determination is smartly done and the abortions are overtly performed.
Let’s take a look at a recent incident that gave the entire nation jitters.
Remember Savita Halappanwar, the bereaved woman from Bangalore who had to pay with her life the cost of anti-abortion laws in Ireland, the catholic country which terms the abortion as unethical and illegal? The pregnancy related complications led Savita to seek termination of pregnancy but the Galaway hospital administration (Ireland) refused citing the law. The episode subsequently ended in the tragic death of Savita. Savita’s death brought many voices raised against the impracticable law forcing the concerned country to tweak its abortion policy to consider the cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
One thing noticeable in the above story is that the small country like Ireland sticks to its norm so strictly that it even didn’t pay any heed to the sensitive side of the story.
But back in Nagpur, the renowned medical hub of Central India, illegal abortions and neonatal sex determinations are day to day business in gynecological and sonography centers mushroomed in the nooks and corners of the city. It is here that the professional ethics are kept at bay just to reap in rich bucks. The compulsory display at the entrance reading “sex determination is not done here” stands nowhere inside the hidden rooms of these hospitals.
If rising deficit in male-female ratio in Nagpur is anything to go by, the alarming figures state the sorry tale. The result is apparent as Nagpur has touched its lowest in terms of the number of girl child born every day, whereas the male child birth has recorded high numbers during the past few years in Nagpur.
The reason is loud and clear. Every day illegal sex determination is conducted at the large number of hospitals clubbed with the alarmingly high numbers of medical termination of pregnancy being performed.
An insider at a famous gynaecology clinic at Medical Square reveals, “Our madam (doctor) charges anywhere around Rs 5000 to Rs 8000, depending on the profile of couple stepping in to seek the sex determination. The information works in code. When it’s male, she says “Jai Ram” and when it’s female she indicates “Jai Mata Di”. The shameful act of rendering the information by taking names of religious deities is the common practice in most of the hospitals. Some pronounce the names of the different deities but the practice goes unabated.”
A leading gynaecologist who wishes not to be named said, “Though we are not into sex determination strictly but as far as abortions are concerned we do entertain the couples depending upon the case. Sometimes, the women fall prey to family pressure of having the boy and go for termination of pregnancy fearing that it could be a girl, while in most of the cases the family planning remains the sole reason.”
Whatever the situation, the naked truth is that Nagpur is gradually inching towards gaining the notoriety of being the safe haven for getting the sex determination and deciding upon to continue with the conception or drop the foetus. All the ‘services’ are provided under one roof which is why most of the couples from neighboring states and districts throng to get their curiosity fulfilled.
While on one hand it is bringing big money, the practice has presented an ugly face of the city’s underbelly on the other.