Women now going to other states for illegal abortions, say activists

After the state, Gujarat and Karnataka are now on the radar of social activists fighting against sex determination and sex-selective abortions. The activists claim that as several clinics were raided and sting operations conducted across the state, doctors and their PROs are referring pregnant women seeking such services to other states.

Earlier, women from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka frequented Beed and other districts in the state for sex selection and illegal abortions, but now the trend has reversed. Women representatives under the banner of Stree Mukti Andolan Sampark Samittee (SMASS) from across the state had come together to fight this issue and are likely to join hands with similar groups in other states to tackle the issue.

Fighting the good fight: (From left) Activists Adv Nisha Shiurkar from Sangamner, Vasanti Dighe from Jalgaon, Adv Varsha Deshpande, Kiran Moghe and Shanta Ranade at a press meet in the city on Friday

Jalgaon-based activist Vasanti Dighe said that the fear of arrest has prompted errant doctors to reverse the trend. “As per information received, doctors from Jalgaon and nearby districts and their PROs have started sending pregnant women to Surat in Gujarat. There are a number of trains running between Jalgaon and Surat, which makes it easy for these women to travel there,” Dighe said.

She added that the Jalgaon Collector has sent a letter to Surat Collector informing him of the trend and requested the officials to look into the matter. “We are also trying to get in touch with activists in Surat and will be meeting the Surat Collector before any sting operation,” Dighe said.

Kiran Moghe, state president, All India Democratic Women’s Organisation, said that anyone indulging in such illegal practices should be dealt with in a stringent manner. “The government should take action and punish the errant doctors. It is their duty to make stringent rules and take appropriate action. Instead, they are asking us to do all the work and in return are obliging us with a reward of Rs 25,000 for unveiling the errant doctors,” Moghe said.

She added that it has come to the notice of the organisation that women from Kolhapur and Satara are going to Hyderabad, Belgaum and nearby places for sex determination and sex selective abortions. “We are yet to take any action and have informed the Central Supervisory Board set up under the PCPNDT Act and chaired by Ghulam Nabi Azad,” she said.

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