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'Asians come to India for abortions'

A Delhi-based doctor has said women come to India to get rid of unwanted girl child, says Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 18:56 IST

A gynaecologist at Apollo hospital in New Delhi has called upon UK health officials to investigate what he says are rising numbers of British Asian women having abortions in India.

Dr Puneet Bedi said the women are travelling to India to have abortions if they find they are expecting girls. He added British General Practitioners were referring women to clinics in India.

Dr Bedi said the practice was lucrative for doctors. "If anything it's on the rise because the basic economics dictate and there's a lot of money for the doctors to be made," Dr Bedi told the BBC.

He said it was common knowledge among gynaecologists that UK women were going to India for this practice. "We all know that it happens all the time and most of the gynaecologists are directly involved in the business and practice of it."

He said it was easy for women to access doctors as there was an "openness and frankness" around the issue.

"There's no difficulty at all in getting either sexing or abortions done at the right time from almost any clinic in north India and the rest of India as well."

He added British GPs were referring women to clinics in India.

But Dr Mayur Lakhani, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said the practice was not widespread in Britain. He said, "In this country, this is the first that I've heard of it, so I think we need to gather more evidence about this practice in this country. But just to be absolutely sure: GPs operate to a very high standard in this country, we have some of the highest standards in the world, I'd be very surprised if this was a widespread or common practice."

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 18:56 IST