11 July 2011
By, Nitin Yeshwantrao
Sonography Centre, Clinic Sealed After Sting Op
An abortion clinic and a sonography centre were sealed in the lake city and two doctors may bebookedfor conducting illegal sex determination tests after a sting operation by activists Varsha Deshpande and the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) indicated their role in femalefoeticide.
Dr Umesh Londhe, who heads Gopika Clinic in Naupada and Dr V N Jawahar, who owns the New Ultrasound Sonography Centre at Pokhran road II, are under the scanner for carrying out a prenatal gender check on a five-month pregnantwoman,whowas a decoy. The woman, a practicing advocate and a member of Deshpande’s NGO, Lek Ladki, which is campaigning against female foeticide, and another activist, Kailash Jadhav, approached Dr Londhe on Saturday to inquire aboutthetesttodeterminetheir baby’ssex.
“Thecouplewassent as a decoy after we noticed an advertisementthatDr Londhe’sclinic offered help to the “needy’’ who wanted to abort. Our activists met Dr Londhe at his clinic on Saturday and askedif couldcarry out tests. They told him that they would prefer an abortion if itwas a girl astheir parentswere orthodox,’’ Deshpandesaid.
The conversation was recorded and filmed secretly by the decoys. The couple was told that should the tests show the gender of the foetus as male, they would still have to pay Rs 30,000. In fact, an advance payment of Rs 5,000 was demanded upfront and the couple was asked to report to the clinic on Sunday.
When the decoys went to the clinic on Sunday, Dr Londhe took Rs 25,000 from them. He then told the husband to sit at theclinicwhilehe andhis nurse Ashwini drove away to a sonography centreof Dr Jawahar.
After returning to his clinic, Dr Landhe announced that the foetus was of a girl child and thatthe mother wouldhavetobe admitted to his clinic for an abortion ’’ civichealthofficer Dr R Kendre said.
Dr Londhe said the abortion would have to be conducted on Sunday itself and should the couple delay they would have to forfeit the Rs 25,000 paid to him. An acitivist involvedin the raidtoldTOIthat in one month 30 centres in Thanehavebeen sealed.
Times View T he desire for a male child and aborting the foetus if it is a girl child in present times is a painful reality in society. However, Sunday’s raid at the Thane abortion clinic and the sonography centre suggests that the practice could be more widespread among the educated and urban class who have access to expensive medical intervention and prenatal tests to determine the sex of the foetus. Unscrupulous medical practioners are more than willing to conduct such tests for money. The law to tackle illegal sonography centres has failed to achieve its goal.