INDIA – Three stories of doctors trying to withhold or discourage safe abortion

When women who approach doctors are denied abortion, they are forced to find a safe abortion some other way. The result? Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India. For her first termination of pregnancy, Aishwarya (not her name) had gone to a gynaecologist, but was denied by the one she saw, a woman. The doctor appeared to referred her to a colleague, who turned out to be an IVF specialist. … Continued

INDIA – Bombay High Court exhibits incompetence in understanding clinical and psychological issues in two rulings on abortion requests after 20 weeks: where is the government?

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy can be done only with permission from a high court. In Mumbai in late December, a 14-year-old rape victim approached the Bombay High Court seeking permission to terminate a 22-week pregnancy. A so-called vacation bench ruled the girl had to be medically examined by a team of expert doctors at the JJ Hospital. The advice they asked for, and should already have … Continued

INDIA – 75% of abortions take place without the support or involvement of health facilities

  More than 75% of the 15.6 million abortions in India annually are estimated to take place without the support or involvement of health facilities and about 5-7% of abortions that take place outside licensed facilities are carried out using methods that may be dangerous. One doctor reports that use of “insertion of sticks and roots, ingestion of herbal medicines, abortifacient drugs, abdominal massage and incomplete D&Cs in unhygienic conditions” to cause abortions still happens … Continued

INDIA & USA – Women’s Human Rights and Migration: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States and India

“Some of the most hotly contested international women’s rights issues today arise from the movement of peoples from one country to another and the practices they purportedly bring with them. In Women’s Human Rights and Migration, Sital Kalantry focuses on immigrants of Asian descent living in the United States who are believed to abort female fetuses because they do not want a female child. While sex-selective abortion is a human rights concern in India, should we, … Continued

INDIA – Courts and medical reports are not the answer

According to an article in the Lancet of December 2015, 15.6 million abortions occurred in India, of which 73% were sought outside health facilities, despite India having a very liberal abortion law. In 2017, in what was considered a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India ruled that individual privacy is a “guaranteed fundamental right” as part of the right to life and liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution. This judgment should have … Continued

INDIA – Government doctors being trained to help women get safe and legal abortions

  The Comprehensive Abortion Care programme is training doctors in abortion laws, medical and surgical abortion procedures, and how to counsel women. On a busy Monday morning in June, Dr Gopal Krishna was suddenly summoned to the emergency ward of Vani Vilas Women and Children Hospital in Bengaluru (or Bangalore in Karnataka) where he works. He had been called to attend to a 23-year-old woman who had been admitted with profuse vaginal bleeding. Kumari had … Continued

INDIA – Rape survivors’ right to abortion: Are doctors listening?

  This article is a compelling analysis of the problematic role of doctors in India in dealing with the need for abortion following rape and sexual abuse, in the context of the abortion law and the role of the courts. The article argues that recent amendments to the rape laws (Section 357 C of the Code of Criminal Procedure) have made it mandatory for all hospitals to provide immediate treatment to survivors of rape, and … Continued

INDIA – Need an abortion: join the long march to the Supreme Court in Delhi

  The Supreme Court on Friday said that a minor rape victim should not be forced to knock the doors of the court for getting permission to terminate her pregnancy arising out of any sexual offence.   On 25 August, the Supreme Court ruled that a rape victim who is a minor should not be forced to knock on the doors of the Court for permission to terminate her pregnancy arising out of any sexual … Continued

SRI LANKA – Sri Lanka authorities arrest Indian man for smuggling abortion pills

  Sri Lankan customs authorities arrested an Indian man who flew in on a Sri Lankan plane for allegedly smuggling 16,930 misoprostol pills (or 1,630, depending on the source) – described in one news article as “highly potent” – into the country without declaring them in India and paying customs duty. The pills were said to be worth about 2.3 million rupees. He was allegedly buying the pills in India for a low price and … Continued

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