Can a minor girl get an abortion in India?

Things that minors should keep in mind : 

A minor girl is someone who is below the age of 18 years old.

Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971, a minor girl needs written permission from her guardian to get an abortion

The MTP Act defines guardian as a person “having the care” of the minor person. Thus an adult, someone over 18 years of age who accompanies a minor girl to a clinic would be De facto guardian and could consent to an abortion on the girl’s behalf.

Things that providers should keep in mind: 

If the girl’s age and/or marital status are uncertain, the providers can proceed with the termination of pregnancy in line with the provisions of the MTP Act after maintaining complete and detailed records of the case.

It is advised to report the pregnancy as per the legal requirement under  Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 and allow the authorities to decide what actions to take.

 

Where to find health facilities for HIV and AIDS patients in Rajasthan?

 

Recently in Rajasthan, RSACS (Rajasthan State Aids Control Society) and Rajasthan prisons headquarters signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch HIV intervention in prisons of Rajasthan. Now this is a very crucial step towards reducing the prevalence of HIV in the state. In many parts of India, civil society organizations have been fighting tooth and nail with their respective governments to have better health facilities, especially for pregnant & lactating women, HIV positive people and people with tuberculosis. Rajasthan is one of the first states to launch this agreement.

HIV and Prisons

An NGO SAATHI has been instrumental in bringing about this change. Various studies by the United Nations have stated that the prevalence of HIV is much higher in prisons than the general population. Rajasthan has total 127 prisons and other closed settings, including 10 central jails, three reformatories, 25 district jails, 60 sub-jails and 29 open camps. The capacity of these prisons is 32,327 and current occupancy is 32,787. Rajasthan at present has 66,000 people identified as HIV positive and are undergoing treatment. AIDS prevalence rate at the national level is 0.27%, while in Rajasthan it is 0.17%, which is less than the national level. (Hindustan Times, 20th February, 2018). Though the rate is lesser than that of India, its prevalence cannot be ignored. The government has taken various measures to identify and provide treatment to PLHIV.

Therapy Centres, ART Centres, Care Support Centres 

In order to provide care, support and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS are getting benefited through 23 Anti Retroviral Therapy centers, 25 Link ART centers and 16 Care Support Centers. The free ART initiative was launched from October 2005 in Rajasthan. The main objectives of these centres are:

  • To provide prolong life and improve the quality of life among PLHIVs through CST services.
  • To Reducing the viral load in AIDS patients by taking ART regularly.
  • To Reduce HIV transmission by positive prevention concept.
  • To improve the HIV-TB coordination for early management of HIV-TB co-infection.
  • To provide care and support through counseling and care support centers.
  • Management of opportunistic infection & availability of sufficient O I drugs.
  • Post exposure prophylaxis for health care personnel working with PLHIVs.
  • Early infant diagnosis to reduce chances of spread the HIV infection in baby.
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination related with PLHIVs among Health Care Personnel as well as society level.

Following are the services available at these ART centers are free of cost:-

  1. Counseling
  2. Investigation
  3. CD-4 Test
  4. ARV Drugs
  5. O.I Drugs
  6. Knowledge of Social beneficial Scheme
  7. Condoms
  8. IEC Material
  9. Knowledge about network people
  10. Referral to Care Support Centre & other related units

 These are the Anti Retroviral Therapy Centres across the state as per RSACS:-

Though the government has taken various steps to ensure that PLHIC have access to various ART centres and get treatment but the situation remains grim for pregnant women who are HIV positive. Many newspapers have reported in the past decade how the doctors do not cases of pregnant women who are HIV positive despite the strict guidelines by the Medical Council of India and the Government to not devoid any pregnant women of the delivery services. There are safety measures that can be easily taken by the doctors and nurses while delivering a child of an HIV positive woman. The recent budget announcement in Rajasthan did not talk much about health. HIV was not mentioned at all. A better monitoring mechanism is required for all these centres to function effectively and regular counselling and training of doctors and all the health service providers must be mandatory. We need more sensitized doctors at the health facilities, especially government health facilities because getting treatment from private hospitals is an expensive affair. There is a dire need to reduce the out of pocket expenditure of people on health so that they do not get pushed under below poverty line as we all know that the second biggest reason for poverty in India is expenditure on health!

 

S.no. Name of ARTC/ FIARTC Address

1 SMS Medical College Jaipur Basement of Dhanwantari OPD, SMS Hospital, Jaipur Ph. 0141-2518630,2572290

2 Dr. S.N. Medical College, Jodhpur Infectious Disease centre, Kamla Nehru Chest & TB Hospital, Jodhpur – 342 002 Ph. 0291-2751161

3 S.P. Medical College, Bikaner Ground Floor, OPD Building, Near ANC Clinic, PBM Hospital, Bikaner – 334 003 Ph. 0151-2201119

4 R.N.T. Medical College, Udaipur MB Hospital, Opp. Trauma Ward, RNT Medical College, Udaipur Ph. 0294-2419403

5 Govt Medical College, Kota New Medical College, Hospital Kota, 0744-2471391

6 J.L.N. Medical College, Ajmer Near Orthopedic Ward, J.L.N. Hospital, Ajmer 0145-2633426

7 Govt. District Hospital, Alwar Govt. District Hospital, Alwar 0144-2346033, 2345087

8 S.K Hospital, Sikar S.K Hospital, Sikar 01572-251093, 271856

9 Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Bhilwara Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Bhilwara 01482-232641

10 Bangar Hospital, Pali Bangar Hospital, Pali 02932-226059

11 Govt. District Hospital, Barmer Govt. District Hospital, Barmer 02982-230369,230041

12 Govt. District Hospital, Jalore Govt. District Hospital, Jalore 02973-225090

13 J.L.N Hospital, Nagaur J.L.N Hospital, Nagaur Ph: 01582-244822

14 Hardev Joshi Govt. General Hospital, Dungarpur Hardev Joshi Govt. General Hospital, Dungarpur Fax No.02964-230203

15 RBM Hospital Bharatpur RBM Hospital Bharatpur. Ph: 05644-220054

16 BDK Hospital Jhunjhunu BDK Hospital Jhunjhunu. Ph: 01592-235025

17 Civil Hospital, SriGanganagar Main OPD, Civil Hospital, SriGanganagar. Ph: 0154-2970507

18 Govt. District Hospital, Sirohi Govt. District Hospital, Sirohi. Ph: 02972-220065

19 MG Hospital, Banswara MG Hospital, Banswara. Ph: 02962-248283

20 Sawaliyaji Govt. District Hospital, Chittorgarh Sawaliyaji Govt. District Hospital, Chittorgarh. Ph: 01472-241744

21 RK Govt. District Hospital, Rajsamand RK Govt. District Hospital, Rajsamand. Ph: 0295-2222885

22 DB General Hospital, Churu DB General Hospital, Churu.

23 Govt. District Hospital, Hanumangarh Govt. District Hospital, Hanumangarh.

Following are some useful important links for people who are seeking more information on HIV in Rajasthan:-

 

Article by: Tushita Mukherjee

Tushita is a dreamer. Outer space and astrophysics attract her a lot. She loves both machines and trees. She is currently working with an NGO. In her free time, she likes to read books and sing. She is particularly fond of Rock and Hindustani Classical music. Clicking pictures of people is something she is exploring these days.

Where is Cyber Cell in Bangalore?

Cyber Crimes are on rise on social media platforms. More and more young people are becoming victims of it. There has been an increase in number of cyber crime cases on other online platforms as well. There are various recourses that a victim can choose in such a scenario.

In such a scenario where does one go to file a complaint?

In Bangalore, Cyber Cell is at Palace Road ,inside the Carlton House, in the CID Headquarters. We went looking for this space.

 

Where do women go to file cases against harassment in Hyderabad?

Hidden Pockets Collective visited Bharosa Support Center for Women & Children, Telangana. “Bharosa” –Support Center for Women and Children is intended to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. It helps women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race and culture will be facilitated with support and redressal. Bharosa also helps aggrieved women facing any kind of violence due to attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honor related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting who have reached out or been referred to the Center will be provided with specialized services.

Bharosa is an NGO working with Hyderabad City Police and the Telangana Government. It works with the Child Welfare Committee. Swati Lakra-IPS Officer is the main in charge of the center. We met  the Circle Inspector who supervises the center.

Procedure: FIR is lodged at the local police station. Then a lady constable and a male constable come to Bharosa with a request (Medical request along with Form 161).  It is compulsory for the police stations to come to Bharosa or transfer the cases to Bharosa (Domestic violence and rape cases).

  • The first step at Bharosa is to register the case. Then victim is sent to the counselor, most of the counselors at Bharosa are Clinical psychologists.
  • The second step is to record the statements. If the victim is below 18 or very young, then there is a room for children where the child would be taken along with the mother and the counselor and then the statement is recorded. The Sub Inspector also sits through this procedure.

Bharosa also has a room for video conferences where the statements are recorded. Many a times this room is used for recording statements from children who are scared to go the magistrate. After the recording the charge sheet is prepared. The center is well equipped, it has internet. The center also has a medical room where medical check ups are done. The state has recruited few doctors for Bharosa who also work in government hospitals. They are supposed to  handle the cases. This hasn’t started completely yet, so at present  the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives take the patients to the government hospitals for the examination. All are sent to either Gandhi or Osmania Hospitals. Bharosa also has a lunch room/snacks room where food is provided to the victim and the person accompanying the victim. If the child/victim doesn’t want to go home, then they are sent to the shelter homes. There are few shelter homes which are under Bharosa. There are 3 vehicles through which they are sent to the shelter homes. The building is open for 24 hours. The victims who come at night are sent to the shelter homes. And next morning their cases are registered. After the recording and all procedure is done, the case starts. Bharosa helps them in following up with their cases.

It is  also trying to get the court building for POCSO cases next to Bharosa so that the children don’t have to suffer.

SHE TEAM: The same building has another Team called the She Team. This is for the eve teasers, to punish them. There are 63 stations, and each have 1 member from she team. There are 10 teams under she team which takes care of different locality. They stand at bus stops, colleges, any crowded places. They work from morning 6 am to 11 pm. In the team there are 6 people (one female constable, one Sub Inspector, four male officers). They have spy cameras. If they see any crime they bring the eve teaser to the center (She Team building). If eve teaser is a minor, then they call the parents, give counselling and send them back (after taking the undertaking). If the eve teaser is a major then they take the finger prints, Aadhaar copy and all the details and put it online. By doing this they keep a check on how many times that particular person has committed any offence.  The nature of the crime is checked. If it is related to cyber crime then the person is sent to cyber crime cell. The complaints can be done on calls, Facebook, Twitter, whatsapp.

 

Bharosa and She Team  has made things easier for the NGO, police and victim. The victim doesn’t have to move around looking for help. Under one roof she gets all the services. There is also a team which works on outreach. There are 6 members in the team. They go to schools and colleges every day. They go speak to the Principle, then talk to the students. They talk about good and bad touch, which all cases should be reported is taught to them (especially to girls).

On principle it looks like a great place which is trying to be more holistic and response in terms of responding to problems related to women. However it still uses surveillance as a model, and are collecting data against anyone who gets caught by the police.

It does understand the concept of “One Stop Crisis Centers” in bringing all the service providers under one roof.

Where can I get an abortion in Hyderabad?

If you are unable to find the service, please do write to us.

Write to us at hiddenpocketsinfo@gmail.com
Call us at +918861713567

 

 

Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) Hyderabad :

  • FPAI Hyderabad, 6-3-883/F, Topaz Building, Punjagutta Office Colony Lane,Punjagutta, Hyderabad, 500082

We have been mapping FPAI Clinics in different parts of India. We went visiting the FPAI Hyderabad Branch and it was one of the biggest independent branch we have seen. It was an independent building, in the middle of the city. It had a lovely park outside the hospital. Interestingly enough there was a diagnostic Centre right below it.

The registration fee is Rs 50. There would be a minimal cost for further procedures required.

We went inside the first floor of the building. It had a lot of patients and their families sitting right outside the Out Patient Department section. There were 2 surgeries that were conducted that day. We meet the person in charge who was willing to show us around.

The place had a doctor, a counsellor, some operating rooms and a ward as well.

They even had some posters that provided information regarding Medical Termination of Pregnancy and the number of months under which one could avail the services. We met the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife who was present at the clinic and who also showed us some of the rooms as well as some of the services available. At this specific clinic they only provided abortions for up to 12 weeks ( 1st Trimester).

 

(Poster  in Telegu explaining different months within which abortion can be performed)

The different types of services that come along :

  1. Sterilisation (Both Female and Male)
  2. Temporary Methods : ( IUD, Oral Pills)
  3. Medical Termination of Pregnancy
  4. Cancer Screenings

 

Sexual Health Data : Do Indian cities think about its reproductive health?

Hidden Pockets Collective for last one year has been working with young people accessing sexual and reproductive health services in 7 cities of India. These cities are New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Kohima.

Abortion stigma can often lead to negative consequences for young, single women in need of accessing safe abortion services. There are several challenges that women face starting with lack of information on abortion itself, not knowing where to access services, encountering judgmental provider attitudes and bias, prohibitive cost, and fear due to social norms. These and other factors can push women into vulnerable situations where they opt for unsafe services that put their lives and health at risk.

We were trying to understand the response of young people to sexual and reproductive health in these cities. Did the cities vary in their attitudes to these issues? Were young people able to access these services? Was there a general awareness about these issues related to sexual and reproductive health issue among young people in these cities. These were some of the initial questions that we were working on.

This report is a trailer to our final report about the data collected over 1 year in these 7 cities.

Laws : 

Abortion in India, is mostly covered under Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971. The Act covers a range of situations, in which Indian laws allows a women to access abortion services.

The MTP Act is worded in a way in which the medical termination of pregnancy is based on medical opinion. So there is no on demand abortion in this country. And the MTP Act also lays down the conditions under which the pregnancy can be terminated. A registered medical practitioner can go ahead and terminate the pregnancy only based on medical opinion in the existence of any of these conditions. So in a sense even though since 1971 there is official legal access to termination of pregnancies, it’s not a right. It’s only one judgment of the Bombay High Court that has viewed the existing law from the lens of the woman and has termed it as a right. But the legislature is still not looking at it as a right.

What type of services? 

In our study, we only were focussed about accessing public health services, and at Hidden Pockets Collective, we wanted to promote accessing public health services. In most of the public health sector, there are various type of sexual and reproductive health services provided. Some of the services are :

a) Adolescent friendly Health Services

b) Counselling

c) Medical Termination of pregnancy

d) STI and RTI testing

e) Long term and Short term contraception choices

f) Family Planning methods

Abortion as a right?  

Is Abortion a right? No, not till now.

So what prevents us from making it right?

Abortion can only be accessed by a woman, if the doctor feels like the pregnancy would result in some kind of danger to her life. It still depends on the opinion of the service provider.

Which are some of the centres where abortion services can be accessed access?

  • Public Health Centres
  • Urban Health Centres
  • Community Health Centres
  • District Hospitals
  • Government Hospitals

There does not seem to be much conversations around sexual and reproductive health data in our cities. Even when National Health Policy 2017 was introduced various cities did not account for the young people in their cities. There is no conversations around keeping one’s sensitive data be it abortion data,HIV data within privacy debate.

Hidden Pockets Collective is working on this and effectively will produce a report regarding the affect of sexual and reproductive health data in urban planning. We need young people be seen as change makers and not just end users of exploitative interventions which does not reflect their realities.

We need to understand the habits of young people and consider it within the urban planning of the future smart cities of the global south.

Can minor rape survivor access medical treatment before justice?

On 18th July, 2017 Chandigarh District Court refused to let a 10 year-old, minor rape survivor access abortion services. She was 26 weeks pregnant. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,2017 does not allow women to abort foetuses beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. Supreme Court directed the PGI Hospital in Chandigarh to set up a medical board to examine if it was safe to terminate the pregnancy. The 10 year minor rape survivor has entered the 27th week of pregnancy. The medical board is directed to deliver the decision by  28th July,2017.

FACTS

Let us re-look at the facts here: A 10 year-old young girl has been raped. She has been dragged from one court to another court, one hospital to another hospital and finally she is lying in PGI hospital with a medical board of 8 members who will decide if her pelvis is strong enough to deliver a child. Her body is up for examination and her narrative is up for evidence checking. Sources reveal that both abortion or pregnancy can lead to drastic consequences.

LAWS & POLICIES

Several pieces of legislations actually came in to monitor the child but they failed to provide any respite to the survivor. The MTP Act 1971, says that after 20 weeks seeks medical opinion of 2 registered practitioners to access abortion. Here is a young girl who is raped and is totally dependent on her parents and relatives to access services. Section 357 C of Criminal Amendment Act,2013 clearly provides that the hospitals shall immediately provide the free medical treatment to the victim.

These are some of legislations in place that provides for relief for rape survivors, but in such a scenario where there is a young girl who has been allegedly raped by her relative, how is one supposed to engage with these legislations? Most of these legislations look at punishing the perpetrator but what about the young girl in this case who might have to undergo severe complications and might require a much more holistic approach to justice and healing?

What could have been done better for the young girl, so that she could have approached an institutional set up and actually access better services? Can our public health system make the process easier for her? Who gets to decide if 10 year-old girl could abort a fetus which was a result of a rape? Could she actually go ahead and just get the medical treatment without engaging with the legal system?

Inspite of a public health sector which provides for provisions at different levels, we are still not able to handle the cases of minors getting raped or minors trying to access abortion services. In the Chandigarh case, it was requested to in the Supreme Court to lay down appropriate guidelines to set up a permanent medical board in each district of India for expedient termination of pregnancies in exceptional cases involving child rape survivors. But the issue is, we already have existing mechanisms at the institutional level that have been set up for helping the rape survivors. But have they really been useful or have they been utilised by the survivors?

What could have helped the girl better? 

One Stop Crisis Centers were specifically created for rape survivors so that they could access all the services. All services including abortion should have been provided to her. 2 years post Nirbhaya fund, and various studies by organisations later, we are yet to find effective One Stop Crisis centres that provide relief to the survivors. One Stop Crisis Centers in her district could have been one of the possible places she could have gone to access abortion. Could she go there alone?  It has been alleged that one of her relative had raped her, in such a scenario how would a One Stop Crisis Centre be useful for her? How many of us even know about One Stop Crisis Centers in our own districts?

If the family had brought her to the health system for help, she could have availed the medical treatment in a speedy manner under  Section 27 of POSCO Act, 2013.  But again she needed the help of a guardian. As she is a 10 year old she could have approached the Adolescent Friendly Health Clinic, which provides gynaecological services in cases of crisis in her Community Health Clinic in her district. She could have been referred to a gynaecologist and she could have suggested an abortion.  AFHCs are still not being used by adolescents.

Will one more board help?

Why are we still seeking for more institutional mechanisms when we are not able to ensure that young people are able to use the existing mechanisms without the help of adults? The 10 year-old had to run from one institution to another before she was finally placed at one of the biggest hospitals in Chandigarh. Most of the debate around this 10 year-old is about the number of weeks of her pregnancy. The courts, the hospitals, the police and the family have made her into a case study. The 10 year-old needed help and should have been able to access these existing mechanism provided in the system, if there was information, if she and her people around her knew of some of the existing mechanisms that could help her. We should have ensured that she gets medical treatment and then we could have followed up with the legal case. In our thirst to get her justice, we have been so entangled with the procedures that today in between 27th and 28th week, her life and her well beings depends on the opinions of experts.

 

Psychotherapists in Delhi

Some of the Mental Health Professionals based out of city of Delhi.  They are practicing Psychotherapists. Their fees range from case to case.

The metro lines help you identify the ones closest to your places.

 

TARSHI helped in curating this list.

Locations:

a) Mandakini Enclave,Alakanand

b) Masjid Moth

c) Saket

d) Greater Kailash-1

e) Haus Khas

f) Okhla Industrial Area

g) Vaishali Gaziabad

h) Kamla Nagar

i) Kalkaji

j) IIT-Delhi

k) Ambedkar University Delhi