INDIA – Careline: A helping hand, a listening ear

Top image: Jasmine George, Aisha George & Athira Purushothaman

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.

They get over 200 clients every month, so far from women in 25 of India’s largest cities. Hidden-Pockets has audited licensed clinics in 12 cities, and created a database of non-judgmental services for women who approach Careline. The process doesn’t start and end with referrals but also involves helping each client understand what abortion could entail for them. Support is available through the entire process, which ends with the client’s last visit to the doctor after the termination of pregnancy.

Unmarried girls in their teens and twenties are the biggest group who contact them. They are often more worried about their parents discovering they are sexually active than missing their period, Because of ignorance about India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy law, they frequently run into trouble with gynaecologists who mislead them about their legal rights and extort money for conducting an illegal abortion….

FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE: SCMP. com, by Priti Salian, 6 August 2020 + PHOTO by Hidden-Pockets