Home Lifestyle Health Abortion: 1.6 Crore Of Them Happen In India In A Year, 81% Of Them At Home

Abortion: 1.6 Crore Of Them Happen In India In A Year, 81% Of Them At Home

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The Central Government has been putting out a figure of 7 lakh abortions for the last 15 years, but according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health, the number is way higher. It is closer to 15.6 million abortions in one year, more than 20 times the figure that the government claims. The shocking part is not over. 81% of these abortions happen at homes instead of hospitals.

The women that undergo abortions at home just take medicines to chemically induce an abortion. “The government figure talked of surgical abortions carried out in its own hospitals. The private sector was not counted, nor were medical abortions,” said the main author, Dr Chandra Shekhar of International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai.

Of all the 15.6 million abortions, 12.7 million were medication abortions, 2.2 million were surgical, and 0.8 million were through other and most probably unsafe methods. The medical abortions require a doctor’s prescription and are done using mifepristone and mifepristone-misoprostol.

The doctors said that the number of abortions does not surprise them and smaller studies done prior to this one in Mumbai and Chennai had also indicated that the number was much higher than the Center claimed. The other indication came from the sale of medicines for abortions.


“Abortions accounted for one-third of all pregnancies, and nearly half of pregnancies were unintended,” said the study. India’s abortion rate is 47 per 1,000 women of reproductive age, which is similar to rates in Pakistan (50), Nepal (42) and Bangladesh (39).

Around 53% Indians use modern contraception, but the expert said studies have shown that half the couples surveyed didn’t know how to use the condom correctly. It estimated that close to three in four abortions are achieved using drugs from chemists and informal vendors.

WHO says abortion medicines are safe and effective when used correctly and within a nine-week gestational limit. Dr Sheriar said abortions are the third leading cause for maternal mortality in India. “The use of medicines for abortions has brought down this number from 12% to 8% in recent years, but it is still huge,” he said

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