“No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”—Margaret Sanger
Unplanned pregnancy management, which is the medical termination of a pregnancy (MTP), and commonly known as an abortion. The movement for increased reproductive rights has, as a result, advocated for streamlined provisions for abortions, alongside an increasing acceptance for it in our society.
Its importance, however, has increased twice as much in the midst of the current Covid-19 outbreak. With medical facilities, both public and private, allocating most of their equipment and personnel to deal with the coronavirus, the environment for one to safely walk into an abortion clinic and be guaranteed an in-person meeting with a doctor is severely threatened. Added to this is the fact that due to various restrictions imposed on individual movement, a large section of women are inevitably trapped in abusive households in which coerced pregnancies are common. In several cases, for a woman to safely leave her house to go to an abortion clinic is thus risky.
In such situations, and for anyone unable to cope with a pregnancy as per the conditions laid down under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and its subsequent amendments, there are certain points to be considered before having an abortion.
1. Getting an abortion can be extremely stressful and this has only increased due to the Covid-19 outbreak. One of the best things you can do to feel calmer is to talk to a friend or a family member about your decision. There are also several therapists who are currently offering counselling services either free of cost, or at a minimal one.
2. The government has listed abortions as an essential service during the lockdown. The Women and Child Development Ministry has also directed all states to ensure that women’s helplines work well, with specific instructions to provide assistance with menstrual hygiene. This means that one can call their states’ respective helplines for any consultation or advice they may need.
3. Irrespective of the current situation, you do not need anyone’s consent to get an abortion as an adult. You are neither obligated to inform the father about it.
4. Owing to the risk involved with entering an abortion clinic in Delhi or any other medical facility at this point, it would be wise to find out if the clinic falls within a Covid-19 containment zone and if they have enough medical personnel to offer you one-on-one with the doctor who can help in the Medical termination of Pregnancy.
5. Make sure to wear a mask, a pair of gloves and carry a sanitiser with you when you step out for the procedure to any trusted gynecologist nearby South Delhi like Saket, Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, Vasant Kunj, Gurgaon, CR Park, Greater Kailash etc. Your safety is of utmost importance all the time.
Dr. Priya Shukla from the Queen's Gynecology says that although abortion has been legal in India for more than three decades, access to safe services remains limited for most women. For example, it has been estimated that nearly 90% of abortions in India including the Delhi NCR and South Delhi and nearby areas are performed under potentially risky and unsafe conditions in unapproved and untrained medical facilities, by providers ranging from qualified doctors to those without any training or qualifications
Image Credit - https://www.sph.emory.edu/research/centers/gemma/issue/index.html