Abortion wasn’t included on the list of essential services that was released by the Indian government in the last week of March, explains Jasmine Lovely George, the founder of Hidden Pockets, a referral platform for sexual and reproductive health for women. “It was added later, on April 14, but even so many women are still facing difficulties in accessing these services.” Several hospitals continue to turn away those who do not need emergency services; something that abortions, emergency contraceptive pills and IUD insertions were not considered under. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had already suspended insertion of intrauterine devices and sterilization procedures and access to over-the-counter contraceptive medications too are being curbed slowly, as they are deemed non-essential items.
On 8 May, the Bombay High Court permitted a 16-year-old rape survivor to undergo medical termination of her 24-and-half-week pregnancy after her father filed a petition. The Court said: “In view of her history and the fact that teenage pregnancy carries a risk of higher mental and physical morbidity and mortality, medical termination of pregnancy has been recommended by the medical board.” The order was passed via a videoconference hearing. The plea had sought urgent orders during the ongoing lockdown and the state and centre supported its urgency. The girl was then 23 weeks pregnant.
The Rural Women’s Social Education Centre (RUWSEC) is a non-governmental women’s organisation in India working for women and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. It was started in the year 1981 by a team of 13 women, of whom 12 were dalit women from the local villages of Chengalpattu taluk near Madras (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu. Currently, RUWSEC’s intensive, community-based activities cover 25 villages and its clinic services cater to the needs of … Continued
Updates on the accessibility of abortion in Japan and India in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
Coverage of the latest guidelines from India on the provision of telemedicine and telehealth