How stigma and restricted access stop Indian women from seeking safe abortions
When women who approach doctors are denied abortion, they are forced to break the law and opt for unsafe abortion. The result? Unsafe abortions is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in India.
Haripriya Suresh and Shiba Kurian
Friday, November 30, 2018
For her first termination of pregnancy, Aishwarya* had gone to a gynaecologist, but was flat out denied by the doctor, who said she would not perform the abortion. The doctor then referred her to a colleague, who turned out to be an IVF specialist. The second doctor, too, denied her the abortion, and instead asked her to carry the pregnancy to term and have a baby. Aishwarya was seven weeks pregnant at the time, but the IVF specialist refused to give her a medical kit, and stated that she was too far along, and asked her to come in for a prohibitively expensive surgery to abort.
“I walked out of the hospital, went to my neighbourhood pharmacy, asked for the kit, and I self-medicated,” Aishwarya says.