Is abortion less than a murder? Aborting a child because it’s going to be a female has been practiced in our nation from years as it is proven by the decreasing sex ratio. Our constitution has taken many steps to prevent it. India passed its first abortion-related law in 1971, the so-called Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which proved highly ineffective in later years. It made abortion legal in almost all states of the country, but it was particularly made for the cases of medical risk to the mother and child conceived by rape. The law had also established physicians who could legally perform the abortion in the said scenarios. But the government had not considered the possibility of female foeticide based on technological advances.
During the 1980’s, sex screening technologies in India was easily accessible to the common people which lead to many problems due to which Government revised the law and passed the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT) in 1994. This law was again amended due to various reasons, and it finally became Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) (PCPNDT) Act in 2004. Its main goal was prevention and punishment of prenatal sex screening and female foeticide.
Implementation of the Law
Many important changes were made in the PCPNDT Act, 2004. It brought ultrasound and amniocentesis under its ambit. It also led to the empowerment of the Central Supervisory Board and the formation of State Level Supervisory Board. The rules, regulations, and punishments are made more stringent. Though, anyone caught seeking medical help regarding abortion whether husband or in-laws, will taken into immediate custody. Although the Act provides for punishment of three years imprisonment but even harder punishments are recommended.