India – Opinion | Looking beyond the legality of abortion

Opinion | Looking beyond the legality of abortion
Even five decades after legalization, abortions in India lack basic safety standards

Last Published: Mon, Oct 01 2018
Vinoj Manning

Despite abortion being legal in India for almost five decades, unsafe abortion continues to be the third largest cause of maternal mortality and accounts for 8% of all maternal deaths in India. Ten women die every day, and thousands more face serious and permanent injuries annually due to unsafe abortion-related causes. Most deaths caused by unsafe abortion are, however, preventable. With the advent of newer and simpler technologies, induced abortion is now a very safe and simple medical procedure, which can save the lives of millions of women.

Continued: https://www.livemint.com/Opinion/yCN9cRSjS4a6r5FKjcGoTM/Opinion--Looking-beyond-the-legality-of-abortion.html

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India – ‘Reduce Stigma To Make Women Comfortable Accessing Safe Abortions’

‘Reduce Stigma To Make Women Comfortable Accessing Safe Abortions’

Swagata Yadavar
August 7, 2018

New Delhi: Abortion was legalised in India almost half a century ago, yet unsafe abortions – performed in unhygienic conditions by untrained providers – are the third largest cause of maternal death. Nearly 78% of the more than 15 million abortions conducted annually in India are outside of health facilities, giving rise to safety concerns. There is only one licensed provider for 224,000 women in rural areas.

India allows medical termination of a pregnancy of up to 20 weeks’ gestation to be conducted by a registered medical practitioner. There have been attempts to amend the act to expand the provider base to include nurses and non-allopathic medicine practitioners, and extend the deadline to 24 weeks from the current 20.

Continued: http://www.indiaspend.com/indiaspend-interviews/reduce-stigma-to-make-women-comfortable-accessing-safe-abortions-88950

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India – Unsafe abortion claims 13 lives daily

Unsafe abortion claims 13 lives daily

UNI
Updated: July 26th, 2018

Everyday 13 women die in India due to unsafe abortion related causes, including lack of access to trained abortion providers, lack of knowledge about the legality of abortion and availability of safe services, compounded by the social stigma and abortion.

It was stated during a Media Sensitization Workshop organised by Global Health Strategies here on ‘Ensuring reproductive justice in India : How do we make safe abortion services more accessible?’

Continued: http://www.orissapost.com/unsafe-abortion-claims-13-lives-daily/

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India – Allow non-allopathists to perform abortions

Allow non-allopathists to perform abortions

Saturday, 02 June 2018
Vinoj Manning | in Oped

Despite abortion being legal in India for almost five decades, every day 10 women die and thousands more face serious and permanent injuries due to unsafe abortions. This is unacceptable. Unsafe abortion is the third largest cause of maternal mortality and accounts for eight per cent of all maternal deaths in India. A recent study conducted jointly by International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Population Council, New Delhi, and Guttmacher Institute, New York, estimates that only 22 per cent of the 1.5 crore abortions that occur in India every year take place at a private or public-sector facility and are performed by trained personnel.

The shortage of trained providers and concomitant lack of facilities offering safe abortion services are two of the key contributory causes of unsafe abortions. Unfortunately, the one policy action that could address this acute public health crisis is yet to be taken.

Continued: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/allow-non-allopathists--to-perform-abortions.html

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India: 56% Abortions Unsafe Despite Being Legal; Proposed Amendments On Hold

56% Abortions Unsafe Despite Being Legal; Proposed Amendments On Hold
Shaifali Agrawal, November 22, 2017

Niketa Mehta was in the 24th week of her pregnancy when a test revealed substantial abnormalities in the foetus’ heart that posed a risk to its survival. Mehta decided to abort, but found herself restrained by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, which prohibits abortion of a foetus older than 20 weeks, except when “immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman”.

Mehta’s obstetrician sought judicial authorisation (Nikhil Datar v. Union of India) from the Bombay High Court, saying Mehta did not want to give birth to a severely disabled infant and witness its suffering. The court refused, saying the issue was of future health risks to the unborn child, and not to the mother.

Continued at source: http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/56-abortions-unsafe-despite-being-legal-proposed-amendments-on-hold-42620

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Government doctors are being trained to help women in India get safe and legal abortions

Government doctors are being trained to help women in India get safe and legal abortions
The Comprehensive Abortion Care programme is training doctors in abortion laws, medical and surgical abortion procedures, and how to counsel women.

Nov 8, 2017
Jyotsna Singh

On a busy Monday morning in June, Dr Gopal Krishna was suddenly summoned to the emergency ward of Vani Vilas Women and Children Hospital in Bengaluru where he works. He had been called to attend to Beena Kumari (name changed), a 23-year-old woman who had been admitted with profuse vaginal bleeding.

Kumari had earlier taken medicines to induce an abortion – pills of misoprostol and mifepristone that are sold at pharmacies as Medical Termination of Pregnancy kits to terminate early pregnancies. Misoprostol and mifepristone fall under Schedule H of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which means that they can only be sold against a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. But Kumari took the pills on the direction of the pharmacist.

Continued at source: https://scroll.in/pulse/857044/government-doctors-are-being-trained-to-help-women-in-india-get-safe-and-legal-abortions

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Abortion is in the news and in the courts across India

Abortion is in the news and in the courts across India
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
July 18, 2017

Perhaps the most important headline is that 10 women die every day in India as a result of unsafe abortion. That some 30,200 abortions take place daily in India, half of which are unsafe, causing some 3,600 women to experience complications resulting in morbidity and mortality on a daily basis. That unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal deaths in India, contributing to 8% of all maternal deaths annually.  In a country that since the 1970s has had a law allowing abortions on a wide range of grounds.

The problem is multifaceted. There is a huge lack of safe abortion services. There is confusion about what is legal and what is not, particularly in relation to the illegality of sex determination and how that is being confused with the legality of second trimester abortion up to 20 weeks. Many women believe they do not meet the criteria for a legal abortion even though they do, such as young and unmarried women. Or they are in sexual relationships that would condemn them if they revealed their need for an abortion to family members or a clinician. Some doctors demand husband’s permission, which is not legally required. Others charge extortionate fees.

So women go to unauthorised providers, not all of whom are safe. They may choose confidentiality over safety. Many others buy medical abortion pills over the counter without a prescription or information on how to use the pills effectively. Many have no problems but some get bleeding problems and incomplete abortions. This gives the pills a bad name when the problem is lack of information on safe and effective use. Hence, some clinicians condemn the pills to the media.

In Maharashtra, for example, a state government committee investigating deaths in Sangli district allegedly linked to illegal abortions has recommended classifying medical abortion pills the same as narcotics to try to stop sex selective abortions, instead of addressing the problem of discrimination against girls and women. The dean of the Government Medical College in Sangli, who heads the committee, has claimed that abortion pills are poison and called them a “weapon”. In March 2017, a young woman died after allegedly being given medical abortion pills by a homeopathic doctor with no abortion training. Also earlier this year, another state committee had recommended mandatory tracking of every pregnant women with a female fetus, and another recommended tracking every pregnant woman. Suchitra Dalvie, head of the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, told Scroll In that this confuses the law forbidding sex determination and the law allowing abortion, but this often falls on deaf ears. Ravi Duggal from the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes argued that these restrictions would lead to bribery of health professionals, victimise women and violate their rights.

Lastly, abortion is only permitted up to 20 weeks of pregnancy in most cases, and because tests for fetal anomaly are often done after 20 weeks, clinicians cannot do abortions in these cases and women end up going to a high court to get permission. The numbers of these cases are growing, or at least the numbers reported in the news are growing. This month, a 19-year-old rape survivor approached a court in Gujarat. She had been raped by a member of her family, did not realise she was pregnant until her father asked her aunt to take her to a doctor. So she was 24 weeks pregnant, beyond the legal time limit, when she sought permission for an abortion on mental health grounds.

While the courts mostly seem willing to give such permission, they are not required to do so, and the delay and cost are high. In one recent case, the woman received a diagnosis of a fatal heart anomaly in the fetus at 21 weeks, but it took a good month for the case to be heard at court and then the abortion had to be arranged. She was 26 weeks pregnant by then. Most women will not have the wherewithal to go to court in this way. According to Dr Devi Shetty, who was treating the woman, a low number of radiologists to screen the high numbers of women who seek screening is also responsible. He called for the law to be reformed to allow abortions up to at least 28 weeks in such cases.

In another case, also reported this month, a woman who had received a diagnosis of a severe neurological condition in her 27th week was refused an abortion by the Supreme Court because the panel of doctors who reviewed her case did not believe it was serious enough. The baby has since been born and is not expected to live. It emerged that the panel of doctors did not include a specialist in neurology.

Hence, the situation is extremely problematic, to say the least. There is a lot of pressure on the central government to improve the situation as the number of doctors seeing women with serious and fatal fetal anomalies speaks out. Pune’s Dr Chaitanya Umarji, who specialises in foetal medicine, said every week he sees a woman seeking abortion beyond the 20-week deadline.Pune’s Dr Chaitanya Umarji, who specialises in foetal medicine, said every week he sees a woman seeking abortion beyond the 20-week deadline.Pune’s Dr Chaitanya Umarji, who specialises in foetal medicine, said every week he sees a woman seeking abortion beyond the 20-week deadline. One specialist in Pune was quoted in the Times of India to say she sees three women a week, for example. But the current government is not yet moving on many of these issues in spite of promises. Pune’s Dr Chaitanya Umarji, who specialises in foetal medicine, said every week he sees a woman seeking abortion beyond the 20-week deadline.

At a recent two-day conference, aimed at building a coalition of safe abortion advocates in India, organised by the Ipas Development Foundation, the issues of low contraceptive use, repeated unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions were central. According to Vinoj Manning, their director, close to 10,000 doctors in the public sector in 13 States have been trained for providing safe abortion services to women. The first safe abortion guidelines issued in 2010 were significant of the national commitment to making abortion safer and have been followed by other progressive policy, including a mass media campaign. However, promises to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 that would allow mid-level health workers to provide safe abortion services have not been fulfilled, and lack of access to second trimester abortion, both before and after 20 weeks of pregnancy, because of fear of accusations of sex selection, all need urgent attention.

Also at the meeting, Dr Atul Ganatra of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society of India (FOGSI) said that conflict in laws and lack of clarity about laws have resulted in denial of safe abortion services to girls below the age of 18 for fear of prosecution. He called for public education, including for legal experts, on the abortion law and an increase in the 20-week time limit. A representative of Population Services International in India claimed that reduced profits due to price controls had meant many pharmaceutical companies in India has stopped producing medical abortion pills as well.

SOURCES: The India Saga, 11 July 2017 ; The Diplomat, by Ritu Mahendru, 11 July 2017 ; Times of India, 5 July 2017 ; Daily News & Analysis, by Maitri Porecha,  5 July 2017; Times of India, by Prithvijit Mitra, 5 July 2017 ; Hindustan Times, by Sadaguru Pandit, 6 July 2017 ; Times of India, 11 July 2017 ; Scroll In, by Priyanka Vora, 17 July 2017 ; PHOTO


Source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/abortion-is-in-the-news-and-in-the-courts-across-india/

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10 Women Die Every Day In India Due To Unsafe Abortion

10 Women Die Every Day In India Due To Unsafe Abortion
By TIS Staffer
11 Jul 2017

Ten women die every day in India as a result of unsafe abortion. Approximately 30,200 abortions are expected to take place daily, of which 15,000 are estimated to be unsafe. This is primarily due to low levels of awareness about abortion legality, availability, and access to services. Rough estimates suggest that of these, 3,600 develop complications resulting in morbidity and mortality.

Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal deaths in India, contributing to eight percent of all maternal deaths annually. To facilitate faster decline in the overall maternal mortality in India, it is imperative that access to safe abortion services is made available at all levels of health facilities.

Continued at source: The India Saga: http://theindiasaga.com/social-sector/10-women-die-every-day-in-india-due-to-unsafe-abortion

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India: It’s about time to bring abortion out of dingy alley, stigma

It’s about time to bring abortion out of dingy alley, stigma
Jan 23, 2017
by Sanchita Sharma

The Supreme Court on Monday relaxed the 20-week legal ceiling on abortion to allow a woman to abort her 24-week baby with anencephaly, a life-threatening congenital defect where a baby is born without parts of the brain, skull and scalp.

India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act legalises abortions up to 20 weeks if there is threat to the mother’s life or her physical or mental health, or if the unborn baby has abnormalities, but many women end up using unsafe abortions methods because they don’t know where or who to go because there are not enough legal providers. Many don’t even know it’s legal to abort up to 20 weeks.

[continued at link]
Source, Hindustan Times: http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/it-s-about-time-to-bring-abortion-out-of-dingy-alley-stigma/story-BPTSEuapnlHCwg4HT3buIK.html

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