UDAYAPUR, Oct 9: After the liberalization of the abortion law in 2002, the number of abortion cases has increased markedly in Udayapur district.
The law allows a woman to abort a pregnancy of up to 12 weeks in case of rape or incest. But such abortion should be carried out in health centers authorized by the government. But health officials said very few cases of abortion are due to rape and incest, and unprotected sex is the main reason.
According to Udayapur District Health Office (DHO), the number of abortion cases including both safe and unsafe in the last fiscal year tripled compared to the previous two years.
According to the DHO, a total of 226 abortions were carried out in the district in 2011/12.
"According to a survey conducted in various hospitals and health organizations in the district, 88 abortions were carried out in 2009/10; 87 in 2010/11 but last fiscal year, 226 abortions were carried out," said Chief of DHO Dr Chumanlal Das.
But of the last year´s 226 abortions only 58 were carried out in authorized health centers, according to statistical officer at DHO Duniyalal Yadav. Of the 58 abortions, 26 were carried out at Katari Hospital, 12 at Marie Stopes Gaighat and 30 at Aastha Hospital, Katari. Yadav however said DHO has not yet received abortion records from Suryodaya Hospital, Gaighat and Primary Health Center Beltar.
Das also said more women have been visiting private clinics and private hospitals to carry out abortions and most of these are carried out illegally. Also there is a dearth of doctors who carry out abortions in the district, Das said.
According to Das, authorized clinics charge Rs 1,000 per abortion but private clinics carrying out abortions illegally charge much more.
Although, illegal abortions are subjects to stiff penalties, no one performing illegal abortions here has ever been penalized, according to health officials.