Abortion-related deaths in India due to poor knowledge of law: Doctor, Experts
Poor knowledge of abortion law putting pregnant women’s lives in dangerUpdated: Jun 08, 2018 00:40 IST
There is a rise in abortion-related mortalities in India due to poor awareness about the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, said a panel of doctors and health policy experts at a conference organized by Global Health Strategies.
It is because of this poor knowledge of law that women continue to choose unsafe abortions methods.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 allows abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond 20 weeks, the doctor can decide to terminate the pregnancy only in cases where there is a threat to the mother’s or the child’s life, said Dr. Nozer Sheriar, former Chairperson of the MTP Committee and secretary general at Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetrician Societies of India (FOGSI).
However, doctors are wary of performing abortion procedures as they fear authorities taking action against them under the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques under which it is illegal for doctors to determine the sex of the child during ultrasounds.
“Even if doctors conduct the abortion procedure for a genuine reason, they will be under the scanner if the aborted fetus was a female,” Dr. Sheriar added.
Dr. Suchitra Dalvie, coordinator, Asia Safe Abortion Partnership said that the government doesn’t advertise the MTP Act enough for more women to know about their legal rights regarding termination of pregnancy.
A study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet, in December 2017, showed that out of the 15.6 million abortions performed in India in 2015, 0.8 million women used unsafe methods putting their lives at risk.