According to a research conducted sometime back by The Population Council, an International Non Profit NGO, Pakistan has an estimated abortion rate of 29 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, despite the procedure being illegal except to save a woman's life. As per the report, an estimated 890,000 abortions are performed annually in Pakistan. The study found that pregnant women who wish to have an abortion in Pakistan often visit illegal clinics run by midwives and 23 percent of women who have unskilled providers perform their abortions are later hospitalised for complications. To add to it, many professional lady doctors (gynecologists) in the twin cities are involved in performing these illegal abortions, with the prime concern being monetary gains. This has led to the mushroom growth of these clinics/hospitals in the twin cities (Rawalpindi specifically) with almost no check by the relevant Government bodies. The issue has not been discussed in open because of religious concerns and society taboos. It's time to face the reality and bring the issue in open for debate with the aim to improve the well being and reproductive health of current and future generations.

DR IRFAN ZAFAR,

Islamabad, March 21.