Topic: General Studies 1,2:
- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Women & Abortion Services
Context: The more serious ramifications of the pandemic has been the rather extensive, even if unintended, disruption of health-care services.
What impact did Pandemic have on Contraceptive & Abortion Services?
- Long lockdown periods led to disruption in family planning and contraception services i.e. it reduced the access to these services due to restrictions imposed.
- About two million women missed out on services between January and June; 1.3 million were in India alone
Factors that caused disruption in contraceptive services are:
- Diversion of Health Services: The bulk of health-care services shifting to cater to COVID-19 related emergencies led to shortage in abortion services
- Disruption of Transport: India listed abortions as essential services under the lockdown, but the disruption of transport services hampered access to centres of care
- Lack of awareness about these services being available during this period also restricted the ability to access these services
- Shortage of drugs: A study in six States by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India, showed a severe shortage of medical abortion drugs in pharmacies.
What has been the consequences?
Reduced access to contraceptive & abortion serviced has led to
- Unwanted pregnancies: UNFPA projections indicate an additional 7 million unintended pregnancies are expected to occur.
- Increase in domestic violence
- Increased maternal mortality
- Constrained the reproductive rights of women
- The need for contraceptive services remains high in India, with over 1 in 3 women (35%) reporting a need for contraceptive advice
- Providing uninterrupted abortion and contraceptive counselling, devices and care services are essential to safeguard women
- Contraceptive & Abortion services must continue through measures such as telemedicine, incentives to local clinics to open their doors, resolving drug supply chain disruption.
Connecting the dots:
- Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act amendments