Lucknow tops in illegal abortions in Uttar Pradesh

July 14th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 14 (IANS) Health officials and members of the national inspection monitoring committee in Uttar Pradesh have launched a crackdown on ultrasound and diagnostic centres, which are allegedly conducting medically terminated pregnancies (MTPs), officials said Monday. The officials raided over 40 such centres in the last three days and sealed several illegally functioning centres.

An alarming number of medically terminated pregnancies (MTPs) in the state forced authorities to launch the crackdown on ultrasound and diagnostic centres. The total number of MTPs reported in the state in 2007-08 is 89,194. It was nearly 85,000 in the previous year, officials said.

They pointed out that these surveys were conducted by the Family Welfare Directorate during the financial year March 2007-April 2008.

According to the directorate, the total number of MTPs in Lucknow district alone in March 2008 stood at 11,940, the highest in the state. It was 9,522 in March 2007.

Significantly, small towns like Barabanki and Shahjahanpur also recorded a noticeable number of MTPs, respectively 2,718 and 2,627. About 21 districts registered over 2,000 MTPs during the 2007-08.

Social scientists attribute the growing number of MTPs to the mushrooming of unauthorised diagnostic centres and pre-marital sex among youth. “The figures pertaining to MTPs are surprising and shocking. Of late, there has been a plethora of diagnostic centres even in far-flung areas. Such centres, violating the norms, undertake sex-determination tests that lead to female foeticide,” said A.N. Singh, a social scientist with Lucknow University.

Moreover, the impact of western culture on young minds is prompting them to develop physical relations - the other reason behind the rise in MTPs, he added.

However, admitting that the trend may not be a positive sign from social point of view, the health officials said that the figures are encouraging, as it suggest availability of `safe abortions’ in various districts of the state.

Director General (Medical and Health) I.S. Srivastava told IANS, “It is true that the trend is not a healthy sign from social aspect. However, at the same time the figures indicate that better health facilities and safe abortion techniques are now available in the state.”

In UP alone there are over 3,500 ultrasound centres against the approved strength of 600 sonologists, according to a study by Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA).

According to the list pertaining to MTPs conducted in 70 districts of the state in the period of 2007-08, Lucknow recorded the highest that was followed by Varanasi with 5,061, Meerut 4,933 and Kanpur 4570 MTPs.

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