The data gathered by the Right To Information (RTI) Act from BMC’s public health department reveals that out of 50 cases, 37 cases of abortion under ‘pregnancy caused by rape’ are from E ward, other cases (8 cases) are found in F-south ward (Parel), 2 cases in K-west (Andheri West, Vile Pale West) and 1 each in H-east, N (Ghatkopar East) and S ward
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In an alarming rate of abortion in Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data has revealed that 74 per cent of cases (37 cases out of 50) under the reason ‘pregnancy caused by rape’ in one year are from E ward consisting of Byculla, parts of Reay Road, Wadi Bunder, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road.
The data gathered by the Right To Information (RTI) Act from BMC’s public health department reveals that out of 50 cases, 37 cases of abortion under ‘pregnancy caused by rape’ are from E ward, other cases (8 cases) are found in F-south ward (Parel), two cases in K-west (Andheri West, Vile Pale West) and one each in H-east, N (Ghatkopar East) and S wards (Bhandup West).
The data further revealed that of the total 30,092 women who underwent an abortion in Mumbai between January 2022 to January 2023, 17 were young girls who are less than 15 years of age while 331 of them were between 15 to 19 years of age group.
Out of the 17 girls (below 15 years of age) who opted for abortion, 10 minors are from the E ward, followed by four from the F-north ward (King Circle, Matunga central areas) and one each from P-North, R-south and F-south ward.
Further, of the 331 cases (between 15-19 years of age) who opted for abortion, 42 are from the K-west ward and 33 (second highest number of cases) are from the E ward.
According to the POCSO ACT and MTP ACT, a pregnant minor girl married/unmarried is considered a victim of sexual assault, and a medical provider is required to report the pregnancy to the appropriate authorities, even if the girl has not expressed a desire to take legal action.
Dr Nikhil Datar, gynaecologist and judicial activist said, “Law considers that women below the age of 18 do not have the capacity to consent to intercourse. It means that they all become victims of rape legally. Though in reality, we find many young boys and girls in consensual relationships. Due to the POCSO ACT, youngsters below 18 years of age who are pregnant are reported as a victim of rape. So even if the girl who willingly gives consent in a relationship or is married underage, the case will be reported as 'pregnancy caused by rape' in the data."
He added, "As all the abortion cases below 18 years of age need to be reported mandatory, as well as due to increase in awareness that their pregnancy can be terminated till 24th week, the rate of illegal abortion has decreased in the city."
The numbers raise the concern about girls who have been victims of rape and the prevalence of underage marriages.
RTI activist Chetan Kothari, said, “The data of one particular ward has a lot of minor girls undergoing abortion and the same ward has the highest number of abortion cases because the pregnancy was due to rape is alarming. The civic body should run an awareness campaign and educate the younger girls by creating awareness. They should be vigilant and share the data with the police too.”
The data also stated that 4,472 abortion cases are reported between the age group of 20-24 years. Dr Ashok Anand, Head of the Gynaecology Department of JJ Hospital, said, “Most of the younger cases opt for abortion because the woman is not healthy and has anemia. We have recorded at least 19 abortion cases so far this year in two months.”
JJ Hospital, which sees cases from lesser privileged, poor social and economic backgrounds cases, has registered at least 19 abortion cases so far this year from January 2023 till date and around 145 cases last year.
Besides this, the data reveals, out of the total 30,092 abortion cases, 3,016 cases (highest) cases are from K-west wards, followed by over 2,000 cases in K-east, P-north, F-north and S wards.