As a result of sex-selective abortions in Armenia the proportion of the amount of boys and girls is sundered for years: now boys are 114 and girls are 100 while the norm is 100 girls/106 boys. Armenia loses 1500 girls in a year. It is considered to be one of the highest levels of new born boys’ predominance in the world. Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA Assistant Representative reported in the interview with Iravaban.net.
“From 1993 till now 50.000 boys were born. If this index continues to rise then Armenia till 2060 will lose about 93.000 potential future mothers.”
The concerns and risks of new bill
On July 2, 2015 the RA Government approved the bill for the problem solution by the Ministry of Health- the package of Ministry of Justice Drafts on making Change in the RA Law on Human Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights and making Amendment in the RA Legislation on Administrative Offenses.
In the interview with Iravaban.net the Minister of Health Armen Muradyan mentions that prohibition of sex-selective abortions is fixed in the new bill, also additional legal regulations and mechanisms, administrative responsibility are set.
The specialists in this sphere welcome the initiative but consider some problems connected with it as well. Mainly, the Office of the Human Rights Defender worries about some points in the bill; especially, the point that says the doctor will give time 3 calendar days for the decision of the abortion.
“It is not reasonable giving calendar days for the decision. Depending on the term of pregnancy and avoiding late term termination, it is preferable to set differentiated term for the final decision making,” said Lusine Sargsyan, the Head of the Analysis of Legal Department of HRD in the interview with Iravaban.net.
He also disapproved the fact that in the Draft besides the regulation on abundance of pregnancy prevention depending on sex additional legislative mechanisms are not required which will be aimed at the control mechanism set towards the effective use of that point in practice and which would require the implementation of the objective, according to the Draft of the Bill.
Because of the absence of the mechanisms the HRD Office alarms that it is possible the risks of corruption will come out. Lusine Sargsyan mentions: “It is necessary to strengthen the control over the doctors for ensuring adherence of prescribed medical guidelines and therefore it will ensure the legislative prohibition of termination till 22 weeks by the doctors.”
Will there be doctors that will go on for risk for some amount of money?
Mr. Marat Atovmyan, Expert of “Multi-Facieted anti-Corruption Promotion” project does not think that even in the case of changing control mechanisms the risks of corruption will be excluded: “Of course, it is possible to place video cameras in the workplaces and find other means but it is not a guarantee that, for example, from the medical institutions the information will not be transmitted,” said M. Atovmyan in the interview with Iravaban.net by adding that there could be doctors would realize it in exchange for certain amount of money or because there is a “relative” relation.
At the same time the expert mentions that the fines for those actions are very high- AMD 250.000-300.000 (and if the action repeats during the year the fine will be doubled) and there is a hope that these fines will have preventive results.
But the gynecologist Armenuhi Avetyan thinks that the adoption of the legislative package can have a positive result. To the question whether there is fear that the new bill will cause the rise of illegal termination centers and new corruption risks will come out, she answered:
“The question on the illegal abortion centers is under the strict control. I do not think that the doctors will take such a risk and will terminate the pregnancy in exchange for the money because they know very well that the results can be unpredictable.”
A. Avetyan from her first day of work refused to make abortions: “I think that not only sex-selective abortions must be prohibited but also the abortions in general. I can accept the abortion only by the doctors’ indication, and I hope that the law will reduce the amount of sex-selective abortions.
According to the gynecologist, many parents get sad and disappointed after knowing that they are going to have a girl: “When they apply for termination of the pregnancy we try to imply them of possible complications and psychologically influence that the girl can support them. Unfortunately, in many cases our advice do not help,” said Armenuhi Avetyan.
For reducing the amount of sex-selective abortions the state must have proper control over this sphere; the specialists say that the most important and necessary part is the adoption of the idea of a baby girl:
“As the researches show selective abortions are the means of discrimination among the women. Thus, it is necessary to undertake complex measures which are aimed for the rise of the awareness of dangerous effects of sex-selective abortions,” said Lusine Sargsyan.
Marat Atovmyan shares her idea: “We must realize a huge enlightening work. I think that mass media has a lot to do in this case. Social advertising videos must be created and shot; seminars and video programs must be made which will influence on the change of mentality; so that people must realize that there is no difference between baby girl and baby boy.”
Photos by Iravaban.net, doctors.am, azatutyun.am