LAHORE - Police Thursday launched a hunt for a doctor after a 30-year-old divorced woman died at his clinic during an abortion in Gujjarpura.

Talat Bibi had relationship with Asad Ali for two years, the inquest heard. Asad took Talat to a Dr Shahzad’s clinic where he came to know that she was four-month pregnant. He got her convinced for abortion and the doctor done the ‘surgery.’

Asad dumped the aborted baby at the heap of garbage in a nearby street and escaped. Meanwhile, Talat’s condition deteriorated and she breathed her last on way to another hospital. Police arrested Asad while Shahzad is on the loose. Police have also retrieved the body of infant.

Under the law, abortions are permissible in the first four months of pregnancy for preserving life or providing necessary treatment and, after four months, on condition of saving the woman’s life.

Though a consensus exists among many Islamic scholars on the permissibility of abortion in certain conditions, a majority of medical professionals consider it as an un-Islamic act and refuse treatment to women, compelling them to seek the help of untrained healthcare providers.

According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Pakistan (SOGP), about 890,000 induced abortions are carried out every year in the country. Experts say they believe apart from unmarried, married woman also prefer abortion an ‘easier family planning tool’ rather than using contraceptives after four to five children.

A senior gynecologist, who wished not to be named, said that most victims of the ailing social mindset were poor women because the rich could pay huge amounts to get the procedure done by trained professionals. She says that at least 30,000 women died every year in Pakistan because of pregnancy-associated complications that put the maternal mortality rate to about 276 per 100,000 live births.

“Because of lack of proper health services, a large number of abortion-related complications worsen the maternal health situation in our country. A great number of cases of abortion are mismanaged by untrained healthcare providers,” she explained.