February 12, 2022
Debanjana Choudhuri, gender and climate justice specialist.
The spread of novel coronavirus has convulsed every aspect of life all over the world. With life coming to a standstill due to repeated lockdowns, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of not only our society, but also of our healthcare system. India is one of the nations, which has been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Crucial measures, such as imposition of lockdowns, were taken to contain the spread of the virus, however, the decreased mobility also resulted in higher incidences of intimate partner violence, changes in migrant living patterns, delay in accessing other healthcare services including contraceptive and safe abortion care and potential changes to decisions about parenting.
Contrariwise, telemedicine was a silver-lining during this period, and it revolutionised access to healthcare services worldwide. India too acknowledged the credibility and viability of these services by introducing telemedicine guidelines. Today, from covid tests to other screenings telemedicine in India, is flourishing each day in every sphere. But is it the same for safe abortion services? Sadly, the answer is NO! Although India recognised the essentiality of contraception and safe abortion services, the telemedicine guidelines reflected otherwise, as it still does not include abortion under its purview.