‘Lockdown hit 9.2 lakh women in need of abortion services’

Image for representation purpose only.   | Photo Credit: Illustration by Keshav

A staggering 90% or 9.2 lakh women in India estimated to require abortion services could not access them between January and June because of the stringent COVID-19 lockdown.

They are among the 13 lakh women who couldn’t get any kind of sexual and reproductive health services, many of whom were impeded because of domestic abuse, according to a report launched by Marie Stopes International on Wednesday.

The inability to access sexual and reproductive health services in India could lead to as many as 10 lakh unsafe abortions, 6.5 lakh unintended pregnancies and 2,600 maternal deaths in the country.

India accounts for 75% of the total disruption in family planning and safe abortion care services across 36 countries served by Marie Stopes International because of the lockdown, said the report.

The study also showed that there were 73,500 fewer adolescents across 36 countries who accessed reproductive health services, though their overall proportion at 15% of total clients remained consistent.

The MSI report warned that as the lockdown-related restrictions are eased “the need for sexual and reproductive health services will only increase especially for safe abortion and post abortion care as there is likely to be an increase in need for second trimester abortions following the lockdown”.

The survey also showed that one in 10 women surveyed in India reported needing domestic abuse services during the pandemic and a fifth of respondents seeking an abortion service reported not being able to attend a face to face appointment for fear of leaving their home due to domestic abuse.

The survey recorded responses of 1,000 women aged 16-50 in India on their experiences and awareness of sexual and reproductive healthcare before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 2:40:03 AM |

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