Poor access to abortion drugs
Part of: GS Mains II – Social/Women issue; Health issue
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.