Ghatkopar emerges as abortion capital of Mumbai


, TNN | Jun 10, 2012, 04.23AM IST

MUMBAI: The central suburb of Ghatkopar has emerged as the abortion capital of Mumbai. Over the past five years, though the number of abortions in the city has been on a decline, Ghatkopar has topped the chart as the area where the maximum medical termination of pregnancies was conducted.

In 2011, there were 2,110 abortions done in N ward that falls in Ghatkopar area, with K ward in Andheri (E) following it with 1,784 abortions. Other areas like Kurla with 1,328 abortions, Elphinstone (1,284) and Dadar/Plaza area (1,246) have been identified as high abortion wards, according to data provided by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in response to an RTI filed by activist Chetan Kothari.

Kothari said though he had asked for the reasons for abortions, the BMC in its reply stated that it was unavailable. BMC executive health officer Dr Anil Bandiwadekar said it was difficult to interpret the numbers. “A couple may have suffered from contraceptive failure, or may have an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Moreover, the woman may be unmarried, because of which she decides to undergo an abortion. Since all these abortions are legal, the statistics are in no way an indication of gender preferences in society,” he said.

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar.

Private hospitals preferred for abortions

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems « kracktivist

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