Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Indian Gynaecologist charged

Dr. Mangala Telang has had her license suspended for performing an ultrasound scan for a pregnant woman. Dr. Telang is a top gynaecologist in India.

Medically-assisted sex selection is illegal in the UK and in India where an estimated 7 million girls have gone missing over the past 25 years. Indians often view a girl child as inferior to a boy. A bride's dowry can also cripple a family financially.

Dr. Telang is accused of agreeing to perform the scan to determine the sex of the unborn baby, even though she had the required sign posted in her office stating that giving such information is illegal. When another doctor in the office informed the couple that the baby would be a boy, that doctor also violated the law.

For now, the doctor's clinic has been sealed shut by the government, and the doctor can not be located.

The government, as usual, is trying to treat the symptom rather than the cause.

Ultrasound scans should be freely available to all who want them, parents have the right to use the latest technology to make sure that their baby is going to be healthy, and doctors should have the ability to provide these services to their patients with restrictions only relating to the safety of those involved.

The cause of the problem is economic. When society gives equal status to both men and women so that women earn as much as men in the marketplace, the families might begin to see that women are as valuable as men. The dowry was required in the past to help the young groom get a start at life supporting his wife. If the woman is a bread-winner, the large dowry becomes obsolete.

India and Britain need to look at solving the problem of equal economic status for women.

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