Bangalore, India -- An estimated 6.7 million abortions take place in India every year, an official of the Bangalore Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology said Friday.
"More than 80 percent of these abortions are unsafe," Sheela Mane, secretary of the society told the French Press Agency. "A fifth of the 80,00 maternal deaths that occur globally due to unsafe abortions takes place in India".
"These abortions result in high mortality rate and morbidity. It is the greatest health risk that Indian women confront," she said.
According to the society, some 20 million of the between 26 million and 53 million abortions in the world every year were unsafe.
"In India many women lack knowledge of safe public hospitals and in some private hospitals there is a very low quality of healthcare," Mane said.
She said most of the Indian women who sought abortions were married. "We have seen that Indian women go to unknown medical practitioners to keep their identity under wraps. In some cases contraceptives have also failed," she said.
Mane said female feticide -- or sex-selection abortions, which is estimated by the government at two million, could be as high as five million anually.
"Female sex ratio, which was 1,072 in the beginning of the 20th century has dwindled to 972 in 1961 and 927 in 1991 ... the steady decline was earlier due to infanticide. Now it is due to feticide," she said.