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HC notice over PIL on medical aid for newborns

The PIL states that around 4,95,100 newborns with major malfunctions are delivered every year.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |
August 28, 2014 2:06:39 am

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the central government to file its response on a PIL seeking medical aid and life insurance for newborn babies, who suffer from birth defects and congenital anomalies.

The PIL, filed by paediatric surgeon Sanjay Kulshrestha, states that around 4,95,100 newborns with major malfunctions are delivered every year, and congenital malformation is responsible for about 15 per cent of all neonatal mortalities. “Right to life for protection of newborns is severely threatened since there is no medical insurance or health policy by insurance companies or the government,” the PIL states.

The lack of such facilities “indirectly encourages parents to opt for abortion in case some birth defect is detected during pregnancy”, the plea further states.

Kulshrestha also said that “aborting foetuses because they may be disabled sends an implicit message of rejection of people with disabilities as if they are no more required in this world and they have no right to live, though this is not true in 30 per cent of cases as babies lead a completely normal life after corrective treatment or surgery”.

During the brief hearing before the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana and the Rashtriya Bal Suraksha Karyakram had been put in place aiming at early identification of birth defects in children between 0-18 years of age and to take appropriate steps to deal with them.

“There are policies for free treatment of birth defects and treatment of new borns upto six months of age,” Jain said.

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