Sophie Cousins, The Lancet
August 01, 2020
Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund, is among experts warning about disrupted health services and a surge in gender-based violence. Sophie Cousins reports.
As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, fears are increasing about the effect of the pandemic on women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health and their access to care. In response to COVID-19, in March, WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which included advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child mortality and morbidity.
By Miriam Berger
July 15, 2020
It has been five months — a bit more than half the length of an average pregnancy — since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.
With millions of people cut off from reproductive health care and stuck at home, some experts predicted that the crisis would create the conditions for a baby boom, at least in some countries. Other analysts predicted a baby bust, driven by economic and social instability.
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.
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.
The Pandemic And Legal Abortion: What Happens When Access Is Limited?
June 8, 2020
Isabella Gomez Sarmiento
In April, Johanna Cruz terminated her pregnancy with drugs obtained through a telemedicine consultation.
Abortion is legal in Colombia. And Cruz, a street performer from Chile who was backpacking through the Colombian state of Antioquia, did not feel she was in a position to raise a child. She didn't have a steady income or stable housing. And with stay-at-home orders in place to control the spread of coronavirus, she found herself facing homelessness in the town of San Rafael and unable to travel to Medellin, the nearest city with an abortion clinic.
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,
Abortion bill 2020 is good, but not good enough
Feb 16, 2020
Sanchita Sharma, Hindustantimes
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020, has got several things right. Raising the upper limit of legal abortions from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for “special categories of women”, including rape and incest survivors, other vulnerable women, and children; and completely removing the upper gestation limit for abortion in the cases of substantial foetal abnormalities will help many more seek safe and legal abortion services.
Other positive inclusions are allowing all women, and not just married ones, to legally seek abortions, and striking out the need for the opinion of a second registered practitioner for aborting pregnancies up to 20 weeks. The draft proposes that the opinion of two practitioners will now be needed only for abortions in the 20-24 weeks period.
FEATURE: INDIA Prime Minister’s Cabinet tables proposal for abortion law reform
14 February 2020
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
On 29 January 2020, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Modi published the text of a bill to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The bill is to be introduced in the ensuing session of the Union Parliament, where it will be debated. A summary of the current law, the amendments it proposes, and responses to the bill by leading NGOs working for abortion rights in India are reported below. Text in quotes is taken direct from the source.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971
The 1971 Act says that a pregnancy may be terminated up to 20 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of one registered medical practitioner up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, or the approval of “no less than two registered medical practitioners” from 12 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Approval must be given “in good faith” that: