Maharshtra to restrict sale of abortion pills

Mumbai: Concerned over "dwindling" ratio of girl child in the state, Maharashtra government has decided to restrict sale of abortion pills and act against sex determination tests.

"We are ensuring that abortion pills should not be sold without medical prescription. The pills would be included in the Schedule X drugs," Health Minister Suresh Shetty said in the Legislative Council.

Shetty said a state-level committee, headed by the Medical Education Secretary Milind Mhaiskar, has mooted curbs on the sale of abortion pills in the wake of "declining" girl child ratio.

On efforts to prevent selective abortions and sex determination tests, Shetty said besides sonography, there are techniques like blood tests and biopsy to determine the sex of the foetus. These new techniques need to be brought under the scanner, he said.

There is also a strong opposition from women activists to prevent abortions, he said.

"The government needs to consider various opinions from all sections of the society before taking a decision," the minister said.

Terming the girl child infanticide as a social evil, the Minister of State for Health, Fauzia Khan said a website would be launched from May 1 to register complaints about sex determination tests.

Efforts would be made to track pregnant women with help of of the government hospitals to know about sex determination tests and infanticide, she said.

The issue was raised by an MLC Keshav Mankar who wanted to know about the efforts being undertaken by the state government to put a tab on the sex determination tests and female infanticide.