AMCAT Reading Comprehension Previous Papers Questions - English 8

AMCAT reading comprehension previous questions with answers - 8


SINCE the late 1970s when the technology for sex determination first came into being, sex-selective abortion has unleashed a saga of horror. Experts are calling it "sanitised barbarism". Demographic trends indicate the country is fast heading towards a million female foetuses aborted each year.Although foetal sex determination and sex selection is a criminal offence in India, the practice is rampant. Private clinics with ultrasound machines are doing brisk business. Everywhere, people are paying to know the sex of an unborn child. And paying more to abort the female child. The technology has even reached remote areas through mobile clinics. Dr. Puneet Bedi, obstetrician and specialist in foetal medicine, says these days he hardly sees a family with two daughters. People are getting sex determination done even for the first child, he says.
A recent media workshop on the issue of sex selection and female foeticide brought home the extent of the problem. Held in Agra in February, the workshop was organised by UNICEF, Business Community Foundation, and the Centre for Advocacy and Research. Doctors, social scientists, researchers, activists, bureaucrats, journalists told their stories of what they were doing to fight the problem. If the 1991 Census showed that two districts had a child sex ratio (number of girls per thousand boys) less than 850; by 2001 it was 51 districts. Child rights activist Dr. Sabu George says foeticide is the most extreme form of violence against women. "Today a girl is several times more likely to be eliminated before birth than die of various causes in the first year. Nature intended the womb to be a safe space. Today, doctors have made it the most unsafe space for the female child," he says. He believes that doctors must be held responsible "They have aggressively promoted the misuse of technology and legitimised foeticide." Researchers and scholars use hard-hitting analogy to emphasise the extent of the problem. Dr. Satish Agnihotri, senior IAS officer and scholar who has done extensive research on the issue, calls the technology "a weapon of mass destruction". Dr. Bedi refers to it as genocide: "More than 6 million killed in 20 years. That's the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust."
Foeticide is also one of the most common causes of maternal mortality. The sex of the foetus can be determined only around 14-16 weeks. This means most sex selective abortions are late. Abortion after 20 weeks is illegal in India. Donna Fernandes, Vimochana, a Bangalore-based NGO, says foeticide is related to a host of other social problems as varied as privatisation of medical education and dowry. Karnataka has the highest number of private medical colleges. Healthcare turning commodity has led to terrifying consequences. Adds Fernandes, "Wherever green revolution has happened foeticide has increased. With more landholdings and wealth inheritance dowry has increased. Daughters are considered an economic liability. Today, people don't want their daughters to study higher a more well-educated groom will demand more dowry."Ironically, as income levels increase, sex determination and sex selection is increasing. The most influential pockets have the worst sex ratios. Take Punjab for instance 793 girls for every 1,000 boys against the national figure of 927. Or South Delhi one of the most affluent localities of the Capital 760. According to Satara-based advocate Varsha Deshpande, small families have come at the cost of the girl child. In patriarchal States like Rajasthan where infanticide has existed for centuries, this new technology has many takers. Meena Sharma, 27, television journalist from Rajasthan, who did a series of sting operations across four States last year, says, "Today, people want to pretend they are modern and that they do not discriminate between a girl and a boy. Yet, they will not hesitate to quietly go to the next village and get an ultrasound done." Sharma was determined to expose the widespread malpractice. She travelled with pregnant women as "decoys" across four States and more than 13,000 km to do a series of sting operations. She says more than 100 doctors of the 140 they met were ready to do a sex selective abortion, some as late as the seventh month. "We were shocked at the greed we saw doctors did not even ask why we wanted to abort, far from dissuading us from doing so," she says. What's the solution? Varsha Deshpande says the PCPNDT Act (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) is very well conceived and easy to use. "We have done 17 sting operations across Maharashtra and got action taken against more than 25 doctors," says Varsha. She adds that other laws for violence against women such as dowry, domestic violence, rape, put the control in the hands of the police which is biased. Therefore, even though the law exists, offenders get away. This law preventing sex determination and sex selection is much easier to use, she says.
Akhila Sivadas, Centre for Advocacy and Research, Delhi, agrees that the law is very well conceived and the need of the hour is legal literacy to ensure the law is implemented. "The demand and supply debate has been going on for some time. Doctors say there is a social demand and they are only fulfilling it. They argue that social attitudes must change. However, in this case supply fuels demand. Technology will have to be regulated. Technology in the hands of greedy, vested interests, cannot be neutral. There is a law to prevent misuse and we must be able to use it," she says. CFAR is currently partnering with local NGOs in six districts of Rajasthan to help ensure implementation of the law.On the "demand" side, experts such as Dr. Agnihotri argue that women's participation in workforce, having disposable incomes and making a contribution to larger society will make a difference to how women are seen. Youth icons and role models such as Sania Mirza are making an impact, he says. Others feel there needs to be widespread visible contempt and anger in society against this "genocide" "the kind we saw against the Nithari killings," says Dr. Bedi. "Today nobody can say female foeticide is not their problem." Time we all did our bit to help save the girl child. Time's running out.
1.     Which of the following will Dr. George agree to?
Option 1 : The girl child is as safe in the mother's womb as after birth.
Option 2 : The girl child is more safe in the mother's womb in comparison to after birth.
Option 3 : The girl child is more safe after birth as compared to the mother's womb.
Option 4 : None of these
2.     What is the solution to the problem of female foeticide as envisioned by Dr. Bedi?
A.    Effective use of law.                           B. Mass public outrage.
A.    Comparison with Nithari killing.         D. Contempt towards doctors.
3.     What is the tone of the passage?
Option 1 : Factual           Option 2 : Biased Option 3 : Aggressive     Option 4 : Sad
4.     What is Akhila Sivadas's opinion on the PCPNDT act?
1 : The act is inconsistent.                                             2 : The act needs reform.
3 : The act encourages demand for foeticide.        4 The act is sound, but needs enforcement.
5.     What does the word sanitised imply in the first paragraph of the passage?
Option 1 : Unforgivable   Option 2 : Legitimate     3. Free from dirt 4 : None of these
6.     What is the doctors' explanation for foeticide?
Option 1 : They think it is legitimate.    Option 2 : They do it because people demand it.
Option 3 : The technology is available and there is no harm using it. Option 4 : None of these
7.     Which of the two people mentioned in the passage suggest similar solution to the problem?
Option 1 : Dr. Agnihotri and Dr. George      Option 2 : Dr. Bedi and Dr. Agnihotri
Option 3 : Dr. George and Dr. Bedi                   Option 4 : Dr. George and Miss Sivadas
8.     Which "demand" does the author refer to, in paragraph 5?
Option 1 : Demand for principled doctors. 2 : Demand for high income jobs for women.

Option 3 : Demand for youth icons.                 Option 4 : Demand for sex determination and abortion.


The word euthanasia is of Greek origin and literally means “a good death.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “the act of killing a person painlessly for reasons of mercy.” Such killing can be done through active means, such as administering a lethal injection, or by passive means, such as withholding medical care or food and water.
In recent years in the United States, there have been numerous cases of active euthanasia in the news. They usually involve the deliberate killing of ill or incapacitated persons by relatives or friends who plead that they can no longer bear to see their loved ones suffer. Although such killings are a crime, the perpetrators are often dealt with leniently by our legal system, and the media usually portrays them as compassionate heroes who take personal risks to save another from unbearable suffering.
The seeming acceptance of active forms of euthanasia is alarming, but we face a bigger, more insidious threat from passive forms of euthanasia. Every year, in hospitals and nursing homes around the country, there are growing numbers of documented deaths caused by caregivers withholding life-sustaining care, including food and water, from vulnerable patients who cannot speak for themselves.
While it is illegal to kill someone directly, for example with a gun or knife, in many cases the law has put its stamp of approval on causing death by omitting needed care. Further, many states have “living will” laws designed to protect those who withhold treatment, and there have been numerous court rulings which have approved of patients being denied care and even starved and dehydrated to death.
Because such deaths occur quietly within the confines of hospitals and nursing homes, they can be kept hidden from the public. Most euthanasia victims are old or very ill, so their deaths might be attributed to a cause other than the denial of care that really killed them. Further, it is often relatives of the patient who request that care be withheld. In one court case, the court held that decisions to withhold life-sustaining care may be made not only by close family members but also by a number of third parties, and that such decisions need not be reviewed by the judicial system if there is no disagreement between decision makers and medical staff. The court went so far as to rule that a nursing home may not refuse to participate in the fatal withdrawal of food and water from an incompetent patient!
“Extraordinary” or “heroic” treatment need not be used when the chance for recovery is poor and medical intervention would serve only to prolong the dying process. But to deny customary and reasonable care or to deliberately starve or dehydrate someone because he or she is very old or very ill should not be permitted. Most of the cases coming before the courts do not involve withholding heroic measures from imminently dying people, but rather they seek approval for denying basic care, such as administration of food and water, to people who are not elderly or terminally ill, but who are permanently incapacitated. These people could be expected to live indefinitely, though in an impaired state, if they were given food and water and minimal treatment.
No one has the right to judge that another’s life is not worth living. The basic right to life should not be abridged because someone decides that someone else’s quality of life is too low. If we base the right to life on quality of life standards, there is no logical place to draw the line.
To protect vulnerable patients, we must foster more positive attitudes towards people with serious and incapacitating illnesses and conditions. Despite the ravages of their diseases, they are still our fellow human beings and deserve our care and respect. We must also enact positive legislation that will protect vulnerable people from those who consider their lives meaningless or too costly to maintain and who would cause their deaths by withholding life-sustaining care such as food and water.
1) The tone of the author can best be described as
A. pleading           B. argumentative            C. compassionate   D. emphatic E. empathetic

2) In paragraph 3, the author finds starvation and dehydration induced euthanasia is to be “more insidious" because
A. euthanasia is legally considered to be a criminal act
B. the public’s attitude toward euthanasia is becoming more positive
C. it often involves those who cannot protest        D. the patient has asked to die with dignity
E. its perpetrators are viewed as kindly caregivers

3) As used in paragraph 3, what is the best synonym for insidious?
A. mischievous    B. treacherous     C. seductive          D. apparent          E. cumulative

4) The author maintains that death by withholding care is
A. largely confined to hospitals                      B. largely confined to the terminally ill
C. often requested by family members        D. approved by living wills
E. difficult to prove if prosecuted

5) As used in paragraph 7, which is the best definition of abridged?
A. trimmed           B. curtailed            C. lengthened       D. protracted       E. compressed
6) Using the passage as a guide, it can be inferred that the author would find euthanasia less objectionable in cases in which
I. the patient’s death is imminent
II. the patient has left instructions in a living will not to provide care
III. the patient refuses to accept nourishment
A. I only                 B. II only                 C. I and II only                  D. II and III only   E. I, II and III

7) The main idea of paragraph 7 is that
A. lawyers will be unable to prosecute or defend caregivers
B. no comprehensive right or wrong definition of euthanasia will exist
C. using a subjective standard will make the decision to end an individual’s life arbitrary
D. no boundary will exist between euthanasia and care omission
E. ‘quality of life’ will no longer be able to be rigidly defined

8) In the final paragraph the author writes, "Despite the ravages of their diseases, they are still our fellow human beings and deserve our care and respect." The main purpose of this statement is to
A. prove a previous argument  B. illustrate an example C. gainsay a later statement

D. object to a larger idea          E. justify an earlier statement

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