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Medical Abortions in India : Need for a policy change

In a study published in the prestigious journal,  Lancet Global Health, 2018, Kirti Iyengar and Kristina Gemzell Danielsson have called for need for overhaul of policy on contraception and abortion in India. 

The problem estimate

It points to the huge burden of unintended pregnancy in India as India’s family welfare programme has been sterilisation-focused and the contraceptive needs of a large proportion of people are largely ignore.

Authors report that in 2015, half of the all pregnancies in India were unintended and that 15·6 million (14·1–17·3 million) pregnancies ended in abortions. It is surprising to note that more than 75% of abortions were obtained outside of facilities. Medical abortion drugs sold off the counter by chemists and informal vendors without prescriptions were main sources how these abortions were conducted.

Reasons

The reasons cited were, a shortage of number of trained providers, legal impediments, lack of privacy and confidentiality, and insistence on specific contraception as a precondition for providing abortion services

The authors call for needed in India to improve access to safe abortion services, especially medical abortion. One of the steps suggested was the simplification of service delivery guidelines for medical abortion  would also help increase access, even in rural areas.

Conclusion

As emphasized by the authors, improved policies to increase access to contraceptive services is an urgent priority in India to help millions of women avoid unintended pregnancies.

Scientific studies report that most individuals (81%) say that they “learned something new” regarding their health, the last time they went online. The majority (80%) of people found the information through a search engine as reliable.

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