NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has proposed the introduction of mandatory tests to determine the sex of an unborn child in a bid to counter bid to counter female foeticide in the country.

“My personal view is for a change in the present policy. Every pregnant woman should be compulsorily told whether it is a boy or girl,” Gandhi said.

Prenatal sex tests are officially illegal in India, a policy designed to stop so many unborn girls being aborted by parents desperate for a boy.

“The sex of the foetus can be determined in 11-12 weeks, and more than 90 percent abortions in India are done in the second trimester but recorded as being done in the first (before 12 weeks).

Parents and doctors can be jailed for up to five years for asking for or conducting a pre-natal sex test but they are still thought to be widespread.

Radiologists and gynaecologists welcomed the proposal, while women’s rights groups have condemned it, saying the move will victimise women and lead to more unsafe abortions.