In March 2020, Swati (name changed) decided to end her pregnancy of 24 weeks, after her partner refused to marry her and ended the relationship. She went to the Madhya Pradesh High Court pleading that the pregnancy was affecting her mental health, and that if she gave birth, the child would “suffer the mental torture” throughout its life. The court refused to give permission. The state government had argued that there were no grounds for … Continued
Many of the one million all-female Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) – who have conducted door-to-door checks to trace coronavirus patients in addition to their usual duties – went on strike in August 2020 to demand job recognition, better pay and proper protective gear. “Now we work all hours, with no days off,” said one 33-year-old ASHA who used to do farm work shifts to supplement her ASHA income before the coronavirus pandemic struck India in March.
This study was carried out in January to March 2020, hence before Covid-19, by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services (FRHS) India and Pratigya Campaign for Gender Equality and Safe Abortion. It covered six states – Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Assam. The field work was carried across 26 cities (five in each state plus Delhi) among 1,500 retail chemists. The findings reveal an overwhelming shortage of MA drugs as follows: Punjab … Continued
In January 2019, the Hidden-Pockets Collective in Bangalore launched Careline, a WhatsApp-based helpline for abortion care for those looking for a “reliable, affordable and non-judgmental abortion service and a safe space to turn to with their questions and concerns. Counselling is available in Hindi, English and Malayalam. It is a free service, accessible on weekdays from 10am–7pm.
Abortion has been legal under broad criteria in India since 1971. However, access to legal abortion services remains poor. In the past decade, medication abortion (MA) has become widely available in India and use of this method outside of health facilities accounts for over 70% of all abortions. Morbidity from unsafe abortion remains an important health issue. The informal providers who are the primary source of MA may have poor knowledge of the method and may offer inadequate or inaccurate advice on use of the method. Misuse of the method can result in women seeking treatment for true complications as well as during the normal processes of MA. An estimated 5% of all abortions are done using highly unsafe methods and performed by unskilled providers, also contributing to abortion morbidity. This paper provides new representative, abortion-related morbidity measures at the national and sub-national levels from a large-scale 2015 study of six Indian states – Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya, Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The outcomes include the number and treatment rates of women with complications resulting from induced abortion and the type of complications. The total number of women treated for abortion complications at the national level is 5.2 million, and the rate is 15.7 per 1000 women of reproductive age per year. In all six study states, a high proportion of all women receiving post-abortion care were admitted with incomplete abortion from use of MA – ranging from 33% in Tamil Nadu to 65% in Assam. The paper fills an important gap by providing new evidence that can inform policy-makers and health planners at all levels and lead to improvements in the provision of post-abortion care and legal abortion services – improvements that would greatly reduce abortion-related morbidity and its costs to Indian women, their families and the healthcare system.