Self-managing abortions safely

Medical abortion (MA) is a method of termination of early pregnancy using a defined combination of drugs. Recognised as a very safe technology, it is the preferred choice of women across the world. MA was approved by the Drug Controller General of India in 2002 as a Schedule H drug; it is not an over-the-counter medication. However, it is estimated that annually, between 6-8 million women attempt to terminate their pregnancy themselves by sourcing the drugs from chemists without a prescription. Despite abortion being legal in the country and concerted efforts being made by the public health system to improve abortion care, it is worth asking why women take recourse to self-use of MA to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.