NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian doctor and two of his associates were arrested as they were about to carry out a banned sex determination test for a pregnant woman in a car in a secluded forest on the outskirts of the capital, a government official said Friday.
State health officials in a joint operation with police sent a decoy pregnant woman to the accused, who agreed to determine the sex of her fetus for 30,000 rupees ($460). Police arrested the three and seized an ultrasound machine from the doctor’s car earlier this week in Sonipat, a town in Haryana state, said Adarsh Sharma, a state health official.
The doctor has been found to be conducting such tests since 2015, Sharma said. The three can be jailed for three years, if convicted.
India banned sex determination tests in 1994 to restore gender balance as parents prefer boys to girls. India has 940 girls born for every 1,000 boys.
Most parents in India celebrate the birth of a son, considered to be their family pride. The birth of a daughter can be a time of embarrassment and even mourning as parents, especially the poor, look toward the immense debts they’ll need to take on to pay for marriage dowries.
Studies have long shown that Indian girls are less educated than boys, have poorer nutrition and get less medical attention. Many women — including educated, wealthy women — say they face intense pressure, most often from mothers-in-law, to have sons.