Three months of lockdown put many people in a tough situation. Now, one more concern has come into notice and that is the inability to curb the unwanted pregnancy. In the first month of Covid-19 lockdown, 47 percent of the total sample population of 3.9 million abortions that would have likely taken place in India in this span under normal circumstances was possibly compromised. It infers that 1.85 million Indian women could not terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Ipas Development Foundation, an Ngo, which works for preventing and managing unwanted pregnancies have revealed the data. They collected the data on the basis of telephone surveys of 509 public-sector facilities across eight states, 52 private sector providers, sales data on medical abortion drugs, and trend estimated by pharmaceutical industry experts.
Out of the total of 1.85 million women, 80 percent or approximately 1.5 million compromised abortions were due to the lack of availability of medical abortion drugs at pharmacy stores. The data further revealed that 20 percent of the remaining people or nearly 370,000 abortions facilities.
According to the 2015 study report, out of the 15.6 million abortions that happen in Indian annually, only 73 percent are through drugs accessed outside facilities, 6 percent in public health facilities, and 5 percent through traditional unsafe methods.
- Schools shut, with no mid-day meal led children to beg for food in Bihar
- How the new immigration rule will impact Indian students in abroad?
Reasons for Decreasing Rate of Abortion
- Almost all the public health facilities were converted to Covid-19 care centers, limiting the availability of sexual and reproductive health services.
- The majority of the clinical staff is occupied with Corona patients.
- Many private hospitals and other health facilities were either closed or limited their service provision due to provider unavailability, inadequate protective gear, or lack of mandatory Covid-19 testing arrangements.
- Supply chain disruptions limited availability of contraceptives and stock-outs of many contraceptives methods.
- Suspension of public transport facilities and curbs on movement restricted women’s mobility.
- Women refrained from visiting health facilities due to fear of Covid-19 exposure.
Vinod Manning, who is an official of IDF said in a statement, “Abortion access for 18.5 lakh women was compromised at all point of care, including public and private sector facilities and chemist outlets”. He further added, “After careful analysis of the data received from the gynecologists, we have concluded that of the 3.9 million abortions that would have taken place in three months, access to around 1.85 million was compromised due to Covid-19 restrictions”.
Because of the inability to abort pregnancy during the lockdown, many women used unsafe abortion methods. But the larger concern is that unsafe abortion is the third largest cause of maternal deaths in India. Women who go through unsafe abortion methods generally face complications such as incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, infection, uterine perforation, or damage to the genital tract and internal organs by insertion dangerous objects such as sticks, knitting needles, or broken glass into the vagina or anus. Many women also go through depression because of the mental and economic issues in their family.