An four-and-a-half months pregnant 18-year-old unmarried girl from Mankhurd, has been scouting for doctors to terminate her pregnancy. “Two doctors have refused. I am also scared of performing an abortion. How do I know she hasn’t found out the sex of the foetus?” said a Kurla based doctor to whom the girl has been referred.
The doctor now plans to write to the civic body before conducting the abortion.
As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, a woman can abort a child up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. If the patient opts for an abortion in the second trimester (between 12 and 20 weeks) two doctors have to certify the foetus has abnormalities or the pregnancy can cause injury to physical or mental health of the mother.
However, the recent crackdown on abortion and sonography clinics to curb sex selective abortions has led to doctors refusing to conduct abortions for women who are more than 12 weeks pregnant, as this is when the sex of the child can be determined via sonography.
“In cases of second trimester abortions, both doctor and woman are now viewed with suspicion,” said Dr Nozer Sheriar, secretary general, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India.
A Juhu-based doctor said he recently refused abortions to two patients. “They claimed to be unmarried and were about 18 weeks pregnant. I cannot verify if they were unmarried or had undergone a sex-determination test,” the doctor said.
Since January 6, the BMC has inspected 400 abortion clinics in the city to check compliance of the MTP Act. About 50 clinics were sent notices to rectify errors in their records. “Inspection is to ensure the premises are registered, doctors are qualified and all eligibility criteria is met,” said Dr Arun Bamane, executive health officer, BMC.
“Authorities are only trying to improve the sex ratio,” said Dr Veena Shinde, an obstetrician and gynaecologist who practises in Andheri (West).