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National Safe Motherhood Day 2022: Why Unsafe Abortion In India Needs Attention

This safe motherhood day, let us talk about unsafe abortion in India and why it should be stopped for maternal health.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Apr 11, 2022Updated at: Apr 11, 2022
National Safe Motherhood Day 2022: Why Unsafe Abortion In India Needs Attention

Health is of utmost importance for longevity. In order to promote holistic wellness, Onlymyhealth focuses on a specific topic every month. ‘Healthy Living’ is our focus of the month April wherein we will present to you stories that promote healthy living. Safe motherhood is every woman’s right to keep mother and child healthy. But unsafe abortion increases risk to both lives. In this article, we will talk all about unsafe abortion.

Unsafe abortion in India is the third leading cause of maternal deaths and morbidities in the country. An abortion should be performed within the appropriate pregnancy duration and by someone who is qualified. However, according to World Health Organisations, 45% of all abortions are unsafe. According to Dr. Suhasini Inamdar, Consultant - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bangalore, Unsafe abortion means the termination of pregnancy with medical intervention by persons without the proper knowledge and skills or in inappropriate conditions. It leads to various physical, mental, financial, social, and psychological burdens for women. While some survive and suffer from chronic health problems and infertility, some women lose their lives due to unsafe abortion complications.

Also Read: New Abortion Bill Proposed By The Cabinet To Extend Legal Abortion Limit To 24 Weeks

What are the causes of Unsafe Abortion?

There is a lack of access to safe and affordable abortion care, which is why a massive number of the population resort to unsafe abortion despite knowing the consequences. Couples who are unmarried or when the pregnancy is unintentional find it even more difficult to opt for a safe abortion performed in a hygienic condition by a skilled provider. Some causes that lead to unsafe abortions are;

Unsafe Abortion

  • Lack of sex education- Unintended pregnancies are one of the main situations when people opt for aborting the child. There is lack of comprehensive sex education and knowledge about contraception, especially among the youth leading to unintended pregnancies and threatened miscarriages
  • Most adolescents fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and only find out when it becomes too late. When they decide to seek an abortion, there is a lack of knowledge about the medical termination of pregnancy that can be availed at reputed clinics and hospitals. 
  • Lack of Access- It is seen that women, especially in rural areas lack access to safe, timely and affordable and dignified abortion care. Reasons for this could be geographical, financial or socio-economic.
  • Stigma- Even if people are aware of the health facilities, they want to hide their pregnancy (especially women who are not married) from their family and society, forcing them to consult an unskilled doctor at an unsafe facility. They are often worried about their privacy, confidentiality and the backlash.

What are the consequences of unsafe abortion?

Here are some unsafe abortion consequences that every woman should know about.

Medical

Some complications caused by unsafe abortions include damaged reproductive tracts, cervical lacerations, pelvic infection, sepsis, hemorrhage (Heavy bleeding), perforation of the uterus, bowel & bladder injury and septicemia. Major emergency surgeries are often required to treat these conditions.

Unsafe Abortion

Psychological

When a woman goes through an abortion, she is burdened with emotional damage and trauma. Due to an extremely judgemental society, there is a lack of psychological support for the women traumatized by unsafe abortion. Women need the support of their loved ones and healthcare providers during this time.

Socio-economic

After a woman has gone through the physical and emotional pain of an unsafe abortion, they could be forced to bear the financial burden of the health complications that arise post that. They also constantly live in fear of judgment which could lead to a lot of anxiety and depression.

Also Read: Bleeding In Early Pregnancy Could be A Sign of Miscarriage

How can unsafe abortions be prevented?

Unwanted pregnancies lead to unsafe abortions. Therefore, the prevention of such pregnancies must be an essential objective. A holistic effort that involves all players is needed. This should involve not only healthcare providers, but also government organizations, communities, families and individual members of the society.

Unsafe Abortion

Increased awareness 

Reproductive health information and services should be more accessible. The lack of awareness about reproductive health information makes it difficult for sexually active people to know their rights. This will also help young couples understand the importance of contraceptives in preventing unintended pregnancies and where they could be obtained when needed. They should also know the importance of going to a qualified health professional in case the need arises.

Removal of the stigma associated with abortion

The stigma associated with abortion in the society needs to be curbed at a community level. Awareness programs will help challenge negative gender norms which prevent women from seeking safe abortions. This will help in overcoming familial, community and political barriers to accessing safe abortion services.

Clinical and sensitivity training for healthcare professionals

Every hospital should provide the necessary comprehensive abortion care training to its staff so they can help women seeking their services. They should create a safe space, so women do not shy away from approaching them due to fear of judgment. Healthcare professionals should make themselves aware of the rights of women, both human and legal when it comes to abortions. Being empathetic and non-judgemental is extremely crucial.

Image credits- freepik

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