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Dhaka Tribune

High Court: Gender identity of unborn child cannot be revealed

  • Hospitals, diagnostic centres to strictly follow policy
  • DGHS submitted policy
Update : 25 Feb 2024, 06:02 PM

The High Court ruled that the gender identity of the unborn child cannot be disclosed. The court has ordered the hospitals and diagnostic centres to strictly follow the policy in this regard.

The High Court bench consisting of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Kazi Zinat Hoque announced the verdict after settling the ruling issued on the writ in this regard on Sunday.

On January 29, the report of the committee constituted by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) was submitted to the High Court stating that the gender of the unborn child cannot be revealed while it is still in the mother's womb.

The DGHS submitted the policy stating that no person, hospital, diagnostic centre, or laboratory shall disclose the gender of the child by any writing, sign or any other means; no advertisement shall be made in this regard; government ministries will train doctors, nurses, family planning workers, technicians on ethics and professional conduct, including training on negative outcomes; hospitals, diagnostic centres and medical centres will store all test data related to this; medical centres including hospitals, diagnostic centres will promote various messages highlighting the importance of gender equality and girl child through digital and print media.

On January 26, 2020, Advocate Ishrat Hasan filed a public interest writ seeking a direction to stop the testing and disclosure of the gender identity of unborn children.

According to the writ petition, sex determination of unborn children is prohibited by law in India. Determining the sex of the baby in the womb creates stress on the expectant mother. In many cases, family pressure also causes abortions.

On the preliminary hearing of that writ, the High Court issued a rule on February 3, 2020, to make a policy to prevent the gender identity of unborn children while still in the womb.

The High Court wanted to know why the failure of the defendants to formulate policies or guidelines to prevent the gender identity of unborn babies would not be illegal in the rule and why the defendants should not be directed to formulate policies to determine the gender identity of unborn babies.

The then High Court bench consisting of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued the rule.

After the High Court's ruling, the DGHS formed a committee to formulate the policy.

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