Foeticide and Infanticide

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

If a sex determination procedure results in the abortion of a child, it would be a crime of foeticide.

Before 20 weeks

It is a crime to force a woman to abort her foetus, and for a woman to abort her foetus before 20 weeks without the doctor’s approval.

After 20 weeks

If anyone aborts a child after 20 weeks without permission of the Court, then they have committed a crime of foeticide. The Court only gives permission to conduct an abortion after 20 weeks in specific circumstances.

After birth

Killing or causing the death of a child after they are born is a crime known as infanticide, and punishable under the law.

The punishment for foeticide and infanticide is jail time up to 10 years and/or fine.1

To know more about permitted abortions, please refer to our explainer on Abortion.

  1. Section 315, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.[]

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What does the law prohibit?

The law prohibits conducting sex selection or prenatal diagnostic procedures, determining and communicating the sex of the foetus, selling machines for sex determination and advertising sex determination facilities.
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What are the offences and punishments under this law ?

Under the Indian law, every offence under the sex selection law is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.
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What is sex selection?

Sex selection includes any procedure, technique, test or administration or prescription or provision of anything to ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be of a particular sex.
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When are prenatal diagnostic procedures permitted?

The Indian law allows the use of prenatal diagnostic procedures in certain limited circumstances, mentioned herein.
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Who does the law apply to?

The law prohibits anyone from doing or allowing any sex selection procedures and regulates every person who could be involved in the process of sex selection.
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What are prenatal diagnostic procedures?

It includes any gynaecological, obstetrical or medical procedures such as ultrasonography, to conduct any prenatal diagnostic tests for sex selection, before or after conception.
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