July 5, 2020
New Delhi: In the first three months of the COVID-19 lockdown, March 25 to June 24, 2020, 47% of the estimated 3.9 million abortions that would have likely taken place in India in this span under normal circumstances were possibly compromised. This means that 1.85 million Indian women could not terminate an unwanted pregnancy, concluded a May 2020 modelling study conducted by the Ipas Development Foundation (IDF), India, a non-profit dedicated to preventing and managing unwanted pregnancies. Of these 1.85 million women, 80% or 1.5 million compromised abortions were due to the lack of availability of medical abortion drugs at pharmacy stores, the study found.
The estimation builds on data from telephone surveys of 509 public-sector facilities across eight states, 52 private-sector providers, expert opinion of members of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), sales data on medical abortion drugs, and trend estimation by pharmaceutical industry experts.
Why COVID-19 Must Not Constrain Access to Abortion in India
During the pandemic, India must ensure that access to critical women’s health facilities remain unimpeded.
By Tarini Mehta
June 24, 2020
Some things cannot be stopped and started as we please, not even if a highly contagious virus demands it. A case in point is development through the different stages of pregnancy. The Indian government did declare safe abortion an essential health service on April 14, when the country was still under a COVID-19 lockdown. It brought some relief to a few women who urgently required those facilities. But things are not that simple.
According to a report by the IPAS Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to manage unwanted pregnancies in India, 73 percent of abortions that take place in India annually are done via medical abortion (MA) drugs that are accessed outside of facilities. Private health facilities take care of 16 percent of cases, while public health facilities cover another 6 percent. The remaining 5 percent are conducted through traditional methods that are considered unsafe. These include, but are not limited to, the usage of sticks, roots, and herbal medicines.
Covid-19 fuelling mother and child mortality rates
Jun 16, 2020
Sanchita Sharma, Hindustantimes
Priyanshi Kol was born in her parent’s one-room hutment in Ansara village in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh on May 21 because her mother Shivjanki, 26, couldn’t get an ambulance to reach Sanjay Gandhi Medical Hospital 100 km away.
She died on June 13 from childbirth-related complications. She was 23 days old.
Abortion is legal but coloured by prejudice: Malayalam short film ‘Aval’ shows you how
The film is produced and co-written by a medical professional who says she has seen these violations happening for years.
Flix Cinema Monday, June 15, 2020 - 17:30
Although India has fairly liberal laws when it comes to abortion, medical professionals are often hostile to women who approach them to get the procedure done. In cinema, too, abortion has been equated to murder far too many times. With the glorification of pregnancy and motherhood, this important reproductive right which gives women autonomy over their own bodies is demonised repeatedly.
A Malayalam short film called Aval, directed by Adarsh Kumar Aniyal (of Raven fame) and released on YouTube recently, presents the bitter truth about the issue. In the film, a young woman in an abusive marriage who did not want to keep her pregnancy, develops postpartum depression and ends up killing her child. Interestingly, the film has been produced and co-written by a medical professional, Dr Veena JS.
Abortion And The Law In India
Sangram Chinnappa & Abeera Dubey
10 Jun 2020
On 22nd May 2020, out of barely 30 cases enlisted on the daily board of Bombay High Court, 4 cases were for medical termination of pregnancy. One such case was of a 13-year old minor girl who was 22-weeks pregnant. The petition was filed through the girl's mother, a pavement dweller living in Thane. The girl in the case is a survivor of heinous rape alleged to have been committed by her own father. It has been reported that the father used to regularly abuse the girl, she then moved to south Mumbai to live with her aunt and stayed with her during the lockdown.
On 14th May, the girl told her aunt about the assault, after which she fell ill and was taken to the hospital. She was later diagnosed to be 22 weeks pregnant. When she went with her aunt to file the FIR at Crawford Police Station they wrongly refused to lodge her complaint and directed her to go to Thane Police Station. This was not an easy task as the entire country was in lockdown due to COVID-19. After they finally managed to lodged the FIR at the Thane Police Station under various sections of IPC and POCSO she was taken to taken to a JJ Hospital for an abortion. As she was already beyond the 20 week limit stipulated in the law, her family was informed that their only recourse was to get a judicial order from the High Court. The family which has a tough time making ends meet and without any source of income due to the Pandemic were made to run from pillar to post to find a lawyer who could help them out pro bono as they could never afford the fees for filing a Writ Petition in the High Court.
COVID-19 compromised access to 1.85 million abortions: Study
8 June 2020
Abortion access to around 1.85 million women was compromised across the country due to the nationwide restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, a study conducted by Ipas Development Foundation (IDF) revealed.
These abortions were compromised at all points of care, including public and private sector facilities and chemist outlets during 68-day lockdown and the first week of Unlock 0.1 period.The study assesses the near-term impact of COVID-19 on abortion access in India since March 25 when the lockdown was imposed across the country with the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the spread of novel coronavirus of COVID-19 pandemic.
#MyBodyMyChoice: The Unsettling State of Abortion Laws In India
By Hridika Rao
5th June, 2020
Even in the 21st century, the term ‘abortion” brings with itself an enormous amount of stigma and dishonour to many cultures of the world. It is extremely terrifying living in a world, where foeticide is still criminalized in most countries as of now. Banning abortion, raises the single most important issue, that how can anyone be truly free if they do not have control over the actions of their bodies?
This further comes in sync with the notions of the right to freedom and privacy and has led to the foundations of many human rights movements since time immemorial.
18.5 lakh in India didn’t get access to abortion facilities in lockdown
In some instances, where the pregnancy exceeded 20 weeks, the Karnataka High Court, gave relief during the lockdown.
Published: 02nd June 2020
By Chetana Belagere, Express News Service
BENGALURU: A 12-year-old girl from a poor, illiterate tribal family of rural Karnataka, who got pregnant after a sexual assault, had to go back and forth between medical facilities and the court to terminate her pregnancy during the lockdown. She is not alone. In the last three months, at least 18.5 lakh women across the country did not have access to abortion facilities. A survey conducted in 12 states by Ipas Development Foundation, which collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to improve the availability of comprehensive contraceptive care, showed,
Bombay HC allows 23-week pregnant minor to undergo abortion
The court on May 22 had directed the hospital medical board to assess whether the 13-year-old girl can undergo medical termination of pregnancy without being subject to any health risks.
By: Express News Service | Mumbai
Published: May 31, 2020
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Nitin R Borkar was hearing a plea filed by the minor’s mother, who alleged that her daughter, while residing with her aunt in Thane, was sexually abused by her father, resulting in the pregnancy.
After examining an assessment report submitted by the JJ hospital medical board, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed a 13-year-old, in 23rd week of pregnancy, to undergo abortion. She was allegedly raped by her father.
Abortion During Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?
This article has been collectively written by members of NGOs working on safe abortion advocacy.
May 30, 2020
On 12th May 2020, mainstream newspapers reported that an abortion pill overdose allegedly resulted in a woman’s death in Mumbai. Her husband, in-laws, family doctor, husband’s friend and the medical representative who supplied the pills have all been booked under Section 314 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Sections 4 and 5(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. While the police were prompt in responding to the complaint of foul play, the news items raise some questions about the process of investigation, reporting as well as the restrictions on pregnant persons’ access to the healthcare services they need, especially in the context of the current pandemic crisis.
To begin with, it is not clear from the report how the conclusion about “overdose” of medical abortion pills was reached. Autopsy reports usually indicate the cause of death in terms of the complication or physical condition which led to death; in this case it was excessive bleeding. The reports do not mention whether the autopsy was followed by further investigations that suggested drug overdose. Moreover, there is no mention of whether the woman’s medical history was explored to rule out any other contributing cause or complication.