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Public sector serving poor women for comprehensive abortion care: IDF study

An in-depth study undertaken by IDF recently published in The BMC Health Services Research (BioMed Central) journal explored the socio-economic profile of women accessing CAC services at different levels of public health facilities in rural and urban Madhya Pradesh. This study specifically examines 1) if public sector facilities are offering CAC services to women, 2) socio- economic profile of women varied by type of public sector facilities, and 3) if women incurred any out-of-pocket cost (indirect) to access services in terms of transportation, food, clinical examination, and medicines. Although this study was conducted in Madhya Pradesh, the findings have a national implication on the role of the public health system serving poor women. Mr. Vinoj Manning, Executive Director, IDF said that, “the study reaffirms the importance of our work in the country on strengthening access to CAC services in the public sector as it is the only way to ensure access to safe abortion services for poor women. It also underlines the need for increasing access to CAC services across the country”.
August 21, 2017

Source : Express Healthcare


Accessible abortion

Safe abortion services should be made a reality for women in our country In India, the liberalisation of law to facilitate access to safe abortion services began in 1964, under the aegis of the Shantilal Shah Committee. Doctors frequently came across women who had taken recourse to unsafe abortions, because of legal barriers. Under the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, both the woman and the abortionist could be punished, unless the pregnancy posed a grave threat to the life of the woman. After an exhaustive review of national and international evidence, the committee submitted its recommendations in 1966 for legalising abortion. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, passed almost five decades ago, put India in the league of 15 other countries to legalise induced abortion for a broad range of conditions. However, even today, unsafe abortion is the third largest cause of maternal mortality in India, leading to the death of 10 women each day and thousands more facing life-long disabilities. In 2017, we are once again at a point when, despite having a liberal abortion law, women face numerous challenges in accessing the same. There is a solution ready before our Parliament in the form of the MTP (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The government is committed to women’s empowerment and is taking various steps in this direction. The ability to exercise reproductive rights is an integral component of women’s empowerment and we are awaiting the day these amendments make safe abortion services a reality for women in the country.
August 8, 2017

Source : The Week


As early as possible and as late as necessary

The pregnancy of a 10-year-old presents a complex and unprecedented situation but laws sensitive to the needs of the women and girls involved could make a world of a difference. The case of the ten-year-old child who is pregnant because of rape is a tragedy. Still recovering from the expenses incurred for an open heart surgery for this little girl, the family is now confronted with the challenges of encountering courts and panels of doctors at tertiary hospitals while coping with the fact that their daughter was raped in their own house and is now pregnant in late third trimester at this young age. We understand that the Government at the national level and from the Union Territory is providing the required legal, financial and medical support to her and her family, which is helpful. However, the personal tragedy for this family cannot be compensated by any external support. It is unfortunate that in the present case all the attention is focused on the delivery of the foetus and not on the consequences of the child of 10 years carrying a pregnancy for so many more weeks. From studies of teenagers versus adults undergoing childbirth, we know that teens are at higher risk for many problems during pregnancy, including eclampsia, infection, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, and maternal death (Shah 2011; Valenti 2015; WHO 2014).
July 29, 2017

Source : Hindustan Times


Parliament Must Join the Courts in Ensuring Women’s Right to Safe Abortions

In July 2016, the media in India was flooded with news about a subject most people shy away from - everyone in the country was suddenly talking about women's right to safe abortion services. This year, once again we are having detailed discussions and seeing public analysis on women's bodily autonomy and their access to comprehensive abortion care. In the intervening period, the Supreme Court and high courts have dealt with a series of appeals from young women seeking relief for termination of pregnancies beyond 20 weeks of gestation, both on grounds of rape as well as in cases of diagnosed foetal abnormalities incompatible with life. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed amendments to the MTP Act after extensive consultations initiated way back in 2006, grounded on the principles of women's rights. Eleven years later, we have seen a draft Bill that was reviewed and revised in light of public opinion, which reached a significant milestone when it was submitted to the cabinet for permission to admit it for consideration and passing by the parliament. A report broke news that the amendments had been sent back to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for better implementation of the MTP and the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Acts. With the amendments on hold, women are compelled to go to the Supreme Court and more shall continue to do so, seeking justice not just for cases of diagnosed foetal abnormalities incompatible with life or rape but also non-availability of safe abortion services in the absence of a law that adequately covers the provisions under which women can have access to safe abortion services. The Supreme Court has directed the government to make the law more meaningful and amend the MTP Act.
July 18, 2017

Source : The Wire


The Trump gag rule hits India: Organisations asked to declare they do not provide abortion services

Non-governmental organisations in India have been asked to self-declare that they do not perform abortions or provide abortion services while submitting proposals to the United States Agency for International Development. USAID is the body responsible for administering civilian foreign aid given by the United States government. Said Vinoj Manning of Ipas Development Foundation: “When US decides that through their funding they will inhibit Indian agencies from doing anything around abortion, it is contrary to the Indian policy on abortions and therefore an impingement on our sovereignty.”
April 6, 2017

Source :


Trump’s decision to deny US funding to foreign NGOs will affect women in India

Ten women die in India every day due to unsafe abortions and more than five million women risk having unsafe abortions this year because of the lack of access to safe abortion services. “Despite it being legal, a large number of women are not seeking abortion in safe places. It’s mainly due to three main factors: Firstly, in many cases, there are not many safe abortion providers close to the community. Secondly, then there is a huge stigma around abortion and finally not many women know that abortion is legal in the country. The global gag rule has a conditionality which does not allow local NGOs from talking about abortion or abortion-related services or even referring to abortion. This would be a huge barrier in moving these 5 million abortions to safe abortion services” says Vinoj Manning, Executive Director, Ipas Development Foundation.
February 21, 2017

Source : WION


Trump gag triggers abortion jitters

President Donald Trump's decision to reinstate a rule that blocks US aid to overseas agencies providing abortion-related services will raise the risk of unsafe abortions in India and other countries, non-government agencies said today. A non-government group in India said Trump's decision will stop the flow of US aid to organisations in the country that have been involved in delivering abortion services or raising awareness about contraception options, and raise the risk of unsafe abortions. "The impact on India will be somewhat cushioned because most money for reproductive health services comes from the Government of India," Vinoj Manning, Executive Director of Ipas Development Foundation, told The Telegraph.
January 24, 2017

Source : The Telegraph


Rules push women to unsafe abortion options

A paper published in Lancet medical journal last May had shown that criminalizing abortion does not prevent it but rather pushes women towards unsafe options. Several studies have estimated that of 6.5 million abortions that take place in India annually, a staggering 57% could be unsafe. Around 8% of maternal deaths in India are attributable to unsafe abortions. There are two main reasons behind unsafe abortions in the country— one is the MTP law itself that has a stringent cut-off time and the another is lack of qualified obstetricians and gynaecologists in rural parts of the country," said Mr Vinoj Manning, Executive Director of Ipas Development Foundation, a non-profit body that works towards women's reproductive rights.
January 19, 2017

Source : The Times of India


Government plans equal abortion rights for single women

In a move that will make it easier for single women to safely and legally terminate unwanted pregnancies, the health ministry has recommended recognising "failure of contraceptive" and "unplanned pregnancy" as lawful reasons for abortion among all women, married or otherwise. At present, the law recognises these two reasons for abortion only in case of "married" women. The relief is part of a series of recommendations made by the health ministry for amendment of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.
December 12, 2016

Source : The Times of India