Sex workers say fear of PMC action makes clinics steer clear of abortions

Sex workers in Budhwar Peth claim that two such centres in the area have become non-functional for fear of PMC action, though activists and social workers do not quite agree.

“Earlier two clinics in Budhwar Peth that used to conduct abortions for Rs 2,000 to RS 3,000 have become defunct. They even terminated second trimester pregnancies. They have suddenly stopped the facility and the doctors claim medicines required to terminate later-stage pregnancies are not available in medical stores,” said a sex worker who is five months pregnant.

Seema Waghmode, director of Kayakalp — an organisation working with commercial sex workers — said that the clinics are still functioning secretly and the government must check on these centres.

“It is also the fault of sex workers, as they are least bothered about their own health and want to get rid of unwanted pregnancies in the easiest possible way,” Waghmode said. She added that such hospitals are not equipped to conduct such activities.

“These hospitals don’t even have well-equipped operation theatres and authorised doctors to conduct abortions. The women here are illiterate and are easily fooled. They don’t want to go out of the area and avoid going to government hospitals even after being advised by us,” Waghmode said.

Meena Kurlekar, director of Vanchit Vikas said, “Though most of the sex workers go for self-prescribed termination, as abortion pills are easily available over-the-counter at medical shops in this area, those who detect the pregnancy late are forced to go for surgical termination. They usually prefer the nearest private clinics over the government hospitals for fear of being caught by policemen.”

According to a Pathfinder official, on condition of anonymity, inexperienced individuals carry out these activities. “The doctors are not qualified to carry out abortions and the condition of the hospitals is very unhygienic. Sometimes even sweepers carry out abortions,” the official said.

Dr S T Pardeshi, medical officer of health, PMC, said: “PMC will conduct raids on the two hospitals and if found guilty, we will inform the state government and strict actions will be taken against them.”  

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