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Poor access to abortion drugs 

  • IASbaba
  • August 14, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Poor access to abortion drugs

Part of: GS Mains II – Social/Women issue; Health issue 

Context: 

According to a study by Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (FRHSI) 

  • Over­regulation of drugs to curb gender-­biased sex selection has hindered access to safe, legal and cost­-effective abortion. 
  • Five out of six States have been reported to have “overwhelming shortage” of abortion pills or medical abortion drugs.  
  • The only State that seemed to be better was Assam (69.6%). 
  • About 79% of chemists do not stock the drugs to avoid legal issues and excessive documentation requirements. 

Abortion pills or Medical abortion (MA) drugs: 

  • Abortion pills or MA drugs are abortifacients which terminate a pregnancy by expelling an embryo or foetus. 
  • Abortion pills are different from emergency contraceptive pills (ECD). 
  • ECD are taken 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent an unintended pregnancy. 

Major reason for shortage of drugs: 

  • The primary reason for non-availability of MA drugs seems to be the incorrect understanding that medical abortion combipacks can be used for gender biased sex selection among regulatory officials. 
  • A Medical abortion combipacks is indicated for use only up to nine weeks while an ultrasound can detect the sex of the fetus at 13-14 weeks’ gestation.  

Do you know? 

  • Medical abortion drugs are the most preferred method with 81 % of abortions being administered through them. 
  • Their lack of availability hinders women, who do not wish to opt for surgical abortion methods. 
  • In the midst of the pandemic with restricted movement clinical methods of family planning are not adequately available, there is a dire need to ensure unrestricted access to drugs. 

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