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Women & Abortion Services

  • IASbaba
  • August 24, 2020
  • 0
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WOMEN/ GOVERNANCE

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

Way Ahead

  • 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

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