Mumbai: For the first time in this decade, a number of abortions has revealed a decline in the city in 2016-17. Data accumulated because of the civic body also reveals a remarkable decline in medical termination of pregnancies among teenagers.

The info, released in reaction to an RTI query, revealed that 33,526 abortions were held out at the city’s 550 registered centres in 2016-17—a 4% decline from 34,790 cases in 2015-16. In the majority of previous years, MTPs have indicated an upward trend, registering a typical annual increase of 10-13%.

The steepest decline in 2016-17 was at the below-15 age bracket, where only eight abortions were recorded when compared to an average of 200 in previous years. Civic authorities are particular the trend is positive and only hints towards increased consciousness and better reporting, although sceptical activists and doctors will not yet call it a “healthy sign”.

The data accessed by RTI activist Chetan Kothari displayed a 34% decline in MTPs into the 15-19 age group. A senior gynaecologist from KEM Hospital said teenage pregnancies are an underlying cause for worry worldwide. “To record such a decline without aggressive public health or social intervention seems a bit questionable,” a doctor said.

A spokesperson of Ipas Development Foundation (IDF), which operates towards safe abortions, expressed concern, saying a decline in abortion among youths requires further analysis, especially when the overall amount of abortions has just about remained the same. “While total abortions declined by 3.6%, abortions among youths declined significantly by 52%. This change within a year seems surprising,” said the expert, adding that it requires research to comprehend why young women is almost certainly not seeking or getting abortion services at these facilities. “We also need to find out if young women are turning to informal providers for terminating pregnancy,” the IDF expert added.

BMC’s executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said the information was gathered scientifically through a software unveiled just last year. “The manual system has been upgraded to minimise errors. There is a fall in teenage abortions as per the statistics,” she said. Dr Keskar pointed out that the number of lives lost due to MTPs was 50% significantly less than 2015-16 when eight women had died.

In a research of explanations why women required MTPs, failing of contraceptive device lead the chart, with nearly 29,700 away from 33,526 citing it. One other reason presented were physical and mental danger to mother’s life or that the child may have problems with irregularities. In 47 cases, rape was shown while the cause for pregnancy.

The information also indicated towards a gradual decline in second-trimester abortions. Professor of gynaecology at Sion Hospital Dr Arun Naik said abortions beyond 12 weeks pose additional danger to a lady and can bring about complications. “Due to a tremendous increase in awareness, we see a very small fraction of second-trimester abortions. Girls and women are prompt in seeking care,” said a doctor. Out from the 33,526 abortions, only 1,375 were carried call at the next semester of 2016-17.

This article was originally published by TOI.