India – 1.6 Crore Abortions Happen Every Year, Yet We Don’t Talk About Them. How Can That Change?

By Ipas Development Foundation in Gender and Sexuality, Sexual Health, Taboos
17th October, 2020
Co-authored by Shivi Sukhija and Parul

Societal norms and cultures affect all of us and often take over our decision making powers and capabilities. One commonly occurring, but rarely discussed, instance is when a woman has an unintended pregnancy. Any woman in such a scenario, whether married or unmarried, will have two options available with her – to continue the pregnancy or to consider various options available for its termination or abortion.

The decision should be hers and Indian law also permits termination of pregnancy under a broad range of conditions. But a complicated journey begins when she decides to terminate the pregnancy and due to societal concerns and taboos attached with abortion, she herself or her partner are unable to discuss their thoughts and feelings with peers and families. As a result, in an effort to hide the unintended pregnancy and their decision to terminate it, the woman and her partner end up seeking unsafe abortion services.


India – Comprehensive Abortion Care a Far Cry

Comprehensive Abortion Care a Far Cry
As per the national statistics, only 22 percent abortions are carried out in health facilities while 73 percent are medication-based.

Published: 22nd December 2019
By KG Suresh

At a quiz conducted recently for state-level health communicators in Bihar, it was found that some were not aware that abortions were legal in India while some others thought a woman required the consent of her husband or father for aborting her foetus. In fact, some of them were not even aware of the difference between emergency contraception and abortion drugs. This was significant given the fact that Bihar with 1.25 million abortions annually accounted for a sizeable chunk of the 15.6 million abortions annually estimated in the country by Lancet, an international health journal. Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh reported 3.15 million abortions.

As per the national statistics, only 22 per cent abortions are carried out in health facilities while 73 per cent are medication-based. The national average of unsafe abortions stood at 5 per cent, meaning thereby that about 10 women lose their lives daily because of unsafe abortions.