Eight wards shame Mumbai with skewed sex ratio at birth


Child sex ratio in India

 

 

By | Feb 20, 2013, 06.57 AM IST

 

MUMBAI: While the civic administration’s statistics show that the sex ratio at birth for Mumbai has improved slightly in the last one year, experts are not too impressed. They say that the administration has to sustain such results over a decade before there is any significant change in the city’s or even India‘s skewed sex ratio.

 

A senior civic official, however, insisted that any increase, however small, is a step in the right direction.

Both Maharashtra and Mumbai, in particular, have shown an anti-girl bias in the last two census.

Civic figures show that the sex ratio at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – for 2012 was 922:1,000, up from 917 in 2011. But a closer look at the ward-wise break-up shows that eight wards have registered a dip in sex ratio at birth.

In south Mumbai’s Pydhonie area, for instance, only 860 girls were born for every 1,000 boys last year.

In 2011, the locality was placed better at 981 girls per 1,000 boys. In fact, the Pydhonie-Byculla-Parel belt of the island city, the prosperous Goregaon-Malad-Kandivli belt of the western suburbs and the populous belt from Bhandup to Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs have all shown a dip in sex ratio at birth.

A L Sharada from the NGO, Population First, said it would be premature to think that such marginal increase is of any significance. She added that easy access to medical tools such as ultrasound machines, which can illegally be used to find the sex of the unborn child, was responsible for the skewed sex ratio.

“The cost of living in Mumbai is high. People want small families and still have a great desire for a male child. This is true in both the slums as well as non-slum pockets of the city,” she said.

Sharada added that the BMC should now study why certain areas, such as Parel in south central Mumbai, have consistently registered a lower-than-city-average sex ratio.

Her NGO had earlier conducted a survey to underline poor adherence among ultrasound clinics of the rules laid down under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

“Until there is stringent conviction for offenders and better gender sensitivity among the population, the problem of skewed sex ratio at birth cannot be solved,” said Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Forum Against Sex Selection.

 

 

 

 

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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