#OpenPockets Cafe and Health in Jaipur?

I attended the event organized by Hidden pockets on September 28, 2018. I have never attended a meeting like this; and I have attended a lot of meetings as a part of my job. This was hands down one of the best meetings I have ever attended.

Kshitiz sharing his experience 🙂

The way this meeting was held, it is a great format, and everyone felt free to share without having any reservations. I work in the field of health; hence I am aware about abortion and have some understanding around the issues related to it.

I had an idea that people have a lot of confusions around abortion and its issues. But after the event I came to know that how little (even lesser than I had imagined) people know about it. People who live in an urban setting and came across as well-educated people also had many confusions about the issues around abortion.

This goes to show that how little we talk about these issues in our daily lives. It is great to hold such events in such a setting where talking about these issues is fun. It was very participative, and everyone felt free to speak. I also liked the vibe of the meeting as everyone was speaking without having the fear of being judged. A light-hearted conversation around an issue as stigmatized as abortion is really a breath of fresh air.

As a health professional, it made me realize that we do not have to be serious all the time. Just relax and talk about the complex issues that are less talked about. I strongly feel that there should be more such events in future. I congratulate the organizers to pull off such an event in a city like Jaipur where we rarely seen such events in cafés.

Article by : Kshitiz Sisodia, a development professional from Jaipur.

What is the procedure for Abortion?

In Indian Medical Termination of Pregnancy is legal under certain conditions. It is important for us understand the procedure for abortion.

 

For abortion or also known as Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP), the woman needs to fill a consent form called ‘Form C’.  Only the consent of the women is required for performing the medical termination.

The woman is provided with a medicine kit containing mifepristone and misoprostol.  These medicines are best helpful in first 12 weeks (1st Trimester of abortion).

The doctor properly explains how to utilise these medicines as it is important to take these medicines in a proper way and under the doctor’s guidance

miso-and-mife

Procedure:

  • Day 1:One 200 mg tablet of Mifepristone is taken
  • Day 3 (between 24 to 48 hours):Misoprostol pills of 200 mcg each (total of 800 mcg) are given orally or vaginally.
  • Day 14 – 15:Person returns for a post-treatment examination to affirm that a complete end of pregnancy has happened.

The doctor would recommend to come back for an ultrasound check up after 15 days. Then get an ultrasound (abdomen) done because it is important to find out if the abortion is completed and women is safe.

These medicines don’t have any side effects but should be always taken under the doctor’s guidance.  It is always better to see if the clinic has displayed the certificate for medical termination practice. One needs to be careful from quacks or unregistered doctors.

#OpenPockets : Conversations with young people on sexual well being

In 2018 , Hidden Pockets is conducting events in Bangalore with service providers with an aim to bring an audience of young people to the service providers and have open conversations around issue of health and young people. We call it the #OpenPockets.

A place where we come and talk about our sexual well-being and at the same time get a chance to talk about some of the myths and fears we have around sexual health.

a purse with things spilling over.

It is a great chance to meet counsellors and doctor and have some conversations with them to demystify some of the doubts we have around sexual well-being.

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.

 

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.

 

Where can I get an abortion in Lucknow?

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

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

Finding places in Lucknow can be a pain, especially if you are navigating the old part of city. Narrow lanes, slow traffic and lack of signs, all makes it a tough task. As a volunteer for Hidden-Pockets, my colleague and I, recently decided to look for places that offer sexual and reproductive health services in Lucknow. So we paid a visit to a family planning clinic of Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) Lucknow. As per FPAI Lucknow branch office, FPAI has 3 clinics in Lucknow. Finding the clinics’ number was not easy, as they don’t have any official landline number for their clinics. Google maps was also of limited help because the information available on the Internet about FPAI Lucknow is outdated with wrong numbers. So we used the rough directions received from Lucknow branch office, to visit the FPAI clinic located nearest to us, which was Sadar area inside Cantt. General hospital.

Directions: Riding on a scooty, we missed the turn for the clinic and had to take a U-turn back to Burlington crossing. (People visiting it from Hazratganj, please take a left from Burlington crossing and go straight). Once you are on the road to Sadar from Burlington crossing, you have to drive straight till you cross a flyover. As you descend from the flyover, look for Cantt. General hospital on the right.

After reaching the Cantt. General hospital, finding the clinic itself was easy. There was a big sign in the parking at the entrance, showing the way to the clinic. Clinic occupies first three rooms of a long corridor and is a hub of activity with a staff of 10.

As we made our entrance into one of the rooms, three women, who though relatively surprised at seeing us, greeted us warmly. We informed them about our purpose and settled to have a conversation. They were working as counsellors at the clinic.

Services offered: Talking to the counsellors was informative as they told us about the range of services provided at the clinic (See the pic). Anyone can avail of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services at the clinic by just walking in without any prior appointment or ID proof. They also have tie-ups with government functionaries like ASHA workers in rural areas. According to the staff, regular village camps are conducted by clinic. ASHA workers also refer patients to the clinic and get a small incentive for the referral.

That particular clinic has been in operation for more than 30 years. It shares both the premises and facilities of Cantt. General hospital like pathology labs. It has an 8-bed unit with one doctor. Currently, the clinic doesn’t provide 2rd trimester MTP services and refers patients to Queen Mary hospital in Lucknow, whenever any such case comes up. The clinic currently did not have any male patients. This, we believe, was due to lack of outreach effort by the clinic and also because of low awareness about its services in Lucknow city area. Talking to the counsellors at the clinic we felt comfortable and welcomed. They showed us around the clinic and were proud of the work they were doing. One of the counsellors is close to retirement after serving a long term with the clinic.

Right counselling continues to be a big challenge in the Indian healthcare system. Discussing your health issues in a safe and trusted environment with trained professionals is difficult. It often makes people anxious, especially sexual and reproductive health related issues. FPAI clinic at Cantt. General Hospital can be a good resource for someone looking for counselling on sexual and reproductive health in Lucknow. It has a friendly environment and experienced staff who are more than willing to listen to your concerns and answer your queries with a smile. Do check them out!

PS: “FPA India clinics may charge, what we prefer to call as a ‘partial user fee’ to the clients for seeking abortion or any other SRH service. This fee is very subsidized and helps the Association meet some running costs. However, all FPA India clinics also have a “NO REFUSAL POLICY”, which states that no client walking into any FPA India facility is denied any service, especially if he/she is unable to afford even the subsidized fee. Thus, poor and marginalized clients can also access quality services in FPAI clinics. Only when the facility is not equipped to provide a particular service (for example some client may need a specialized service, or admission or higher level emergency care) are clients to other facilities.”

About the writer:

Nitin Malik is a volunteer with Hidden Pockets.

Podcast: Let’s Make Abortion Safe: Women’s Reproductive Health

Welcome back to our Podcast series. As women, it is very important for us to know our rights and own decisions that are to be made about our individual bodies. But, have you wondered about how challenging that can be at times? There can be many reasons that make women’s reproductive health and rights a difficult area to talk about, let alone owning it.

Team Hidden Pockets discusses this issue with our team of specialists from areas such as Roopnagar district, Faizabad, Aliganj and Pune; who help us understand the importance and the need for women to own decisions around safe abortions. This podcast is specifically created to talk to women who have been working in the area of women’s health and reproductive rights for a while now. Listen to them share their personal and professional experiences with us.

We begin with Video volunteers from Pune District, move onto Arpan Society from Punjab, to Janvikas Kendra from U.P., and finally to Mahila Atma Suraksha Sanstha, U.P. Each of these women share the heroic work of their organizations that work in the area of safe abortion, women’s rights and providing services. Listen to them discuss how important The Right to Life and Respect of one’s body is for women.

Women today and since time immemorial have been struggling with knowledge around safe abortion techniques, breaking free from the shackles of patriarchy and making informed decisions about their bodies and even just doing what is good for them. Our specialists relentlessly work each day to make the lives for thousands of women who are struggling, better each day. Their only message is to empower yourselves and take ownership. Don’t let anybody make these decisions for you. Go to your nearest public health clinic, access non-profit organizations around you and make your abortion safe. Let’s not be afraid anymore to discuss Safe Abortion.

 

A special thanks to CREA for introducing these wonderful women to Hidden Pockets.

Host: Aisha Lovely George

Pic Credit: canva.com

Music by Audionautix.com

 

What does Indian law say about abortion? In conversation with Anubha Rastogi

CREA, a feminist huma rights organisation organised a workshop on law and abortion on June 23 & 24, 2017 facilitated by lawyer Anubha Rastogi. Specialising in human rights law, Rastogi has extensive experience of working with women’s rights issues including illegal trafficking, abortion, sexual harassment,   among others. In conversation with Hidden Pockets, Rastogi spoke about right to our body as a fundamental right, laws around abortion, abortion as a right, among others.

Right to our body

How does the constitution define our right to our body?

The (Indian) constitution in the chapter on fundamental rights guarantees that each person has a right to life. Right to life has been interpreted to mean a lot of things including your personal liberty, your bodily integrity and your right to health. So that’s where the constitution actually brings in the fact that each person in this country has a right over his or her own body.

What are the rights that women enjoy with respect to their sexual and reproductive health?

If I look at laws, we have the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act from 1971 where the language is not in a rights based format but it has been providing access to women who want to terminate pregnancies and then there’s the Maternity Benefit Act which now has recently been amended to expand its own scope. Then there are legislations that have come in as a result of offences against women like the Domestic Violence Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses etc. But having said that, the Constitution treats each person as an equal and with that also provides the space for the state to make any special provisions for women and children and within that there are a lot of progressive policies and legislations which have been made for women.

Abortion as a right

How does the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act view getting an abortion? Does the act confer the right to abort on women?

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 are the rights conferred by the Act on an unmarried women? is it illegal for an unmarried woman to get an abortion in India?

See the law is saying that where a woman is pregnant and it is an unwanted pregnancy and in the opinion of the doctor, the unwanted pregnancy will impact or have a grave injury on the woman’s physical body or her mental makeup then definitely the pregnancy can be terminated. Where the reason is contraception failure that is available only for married women. Where the pregnancy is as a result of rape and the woman is a major, there the woman can definitely seek termination of pregnancy and that can be provided to her irrespective of her marital status.

What are the amendments that have been proposed under the MTP act?

The amendments that have been proposed in the MTP Act are definitely to look at on demand abortion at least up to 12 weeks. There has been a proposal of increasing the 20-week limit to 24 weeks or 26 weeks. I think that stand keeps changing. One of the things that they are asking for is to increase the provider base because it’s with the appropriate training. So it’s not necessary that it’s only a MBBS doctor who can provide the MTP service. If legally, the law accepts it, with appropriate training even other service providers can provide this service safely. There has been a move to increase some other reasons for which an MTP can be provided. Those are some of the key amendments that are being sought.

Will abortion become a right if the on-demand abortion up to 12 weeks gets passed as an amendment?

Yes

Terms of the abortion as per MTP Act

What are the circumstances under which abortion can be done as you say under the MTP Act?

The MTP Act determines the length of the pregnancy as one of the factors. With respect to the length of the pregnancy (within which pregnancy can be terminated), the Act mentions 12 weeks and then there’s 20 weeks. If the pregnancy is as a result of sexual abuse or rape, she can get an abortion. It also allows for abortion where it’s a married woman and there is a contraception failure and therefore the pregnancy is unwanted. It also gives two instances as illustrations of what can be considered as a circumstance which will have a grave injury on the woman’s either physical condition or her mental setup. That is definitely one of the main reasons why many MTPs are done and can be done. The pregnancy may be terminated where there is any abnormality in the fetus, a history of disability in the family and a substantial risk that the fetus when comes to term and the child when born would suffer from some serious disability or would be handicapped, a term which the law uses. Apart from that it also provides for a registered medical practitioner to terminate a pregnancy at any point in time of the pregnancy irrespective of what the law otherwise says where it is to save the life of the woman.

Which is a place where someone can get an abortion? Is anything defined in the MTP act?

The MTP Act says that any government hospital is already a place that is approved where an MTP can be provided. For private setups, the MTP Act provides for a committee to be set up at every district level that will take applications and do an inspection of the place that has applied to become an MTP center. Once it’s approved, the committee will give them a certificate and will continue inspecting it and keep an eye ensuring that quality is maintained. So these are the two kinds of places where officially legally an MPT can be done.

PCPNDT Act and MTP Act: The conflict

What has been the effect of PCPNDT Act on MTP Act? Does PCPNDT make it illegal to get an abortion?

PCPNDT Act and the MTP Act, both acts have their scopes very clearly defined and they do not in any way merge or overlap with each other or hit each other. The PCPNDT Act only talks specifically about the regulation of clinics or technology that can provide sex determination (and selection) services. So the PCPNDT act makes it illegal for selecting the sex of the foetus and makes determining the sex and communicating the sex of the foetus an offense. And that’s where it stops. It does not say anything about what happens once a person knows the sex of the foetus. The offender under the PCPNDT Act in most cases is the expert, the radiologist or the technical expert who is able to understand and use the technology or misuse it. The MTP Act in its scope very clearly provides for situations when a pregnancy can be terminated and that’s all it says. If a woman is falling within any of those categories and on medical opinion, a registered medical practitioner is terminating the pregnancy there is no offense that has occurred under the MTP Act or under the PCPNDT Act at least by the provider who has provided the service. There may be an offence committed by someone under the PCPNDT Act. The person may have communicated the sex of the foetus but nothing else in this whole chain of events. The scope of the PCPNDT and the MTP Act has actually affected women in accessing MTP services in a large way. From what I hear, many doctors are now afraid or are reluctant to provide MTP services because of which there is a possibility of some kind of restriction or inspection that they will have to face.

How has the sex ratio in India been affected by the PCPNDT and MTP Act considering that a certain association is constantly made in this conversation with respect to these Acts?

The gap between the number of girls born per 1000 male children born was increasing. Because of the declining child sex ratio, it was understood that this is happening simply because there is gender based sex selection that is taking place.

This gave the PCPNDT Act lot more teeth. When the Act was amended in 2003, several new technological developments were brought into the fold of the law. But very clearly the PCPNDT talked about the fact that the offense is the determination of the sex of the foetus and its communication. Without that information even if a woman or a family is seeking a MTP, it doesn’t really make a difference. The problem has been that the focus has completely moved from the service provider or the expert to the woman, her pregnancy and what is she doing with the pregnancy while that, in the domain of law is not really an offense. What has now happened is that states are being asked to provide child sex ratio numbers on a monthly basis. Districts have been asked to provide these on a monthly basis. I’m not a statistician so I’m not very clear but I’m told that it takes about at least 3-4 years to determine child sex ratio or sex ratio of the adult population. It’s obvious that those numbers are not accurate where we are asking districts to provide these numbers on a monthly basis. But those numbers are being quoted and this is having its impact on access to MTP centers and people are refusing to provide MTPs as a service. Obviously, then it has its impact. There is a lot of push to implement the PCPNDT Act in different ways because of these numbers.

What was the PIL related abortion that you had worked on, in the state of Chattisgarh? 

This was a writ petition filed as a Public Interest Litigation before the Bilaspur High Court in the state of Chhattisgarh. Before filing the petition, there were a lot of Right to Information applications that I had filed to know whether the District Level Committees have been actually set up in every district in the state of Chhattisgarh and what is the number, how many times in the past year did they meet, how many centres and how many applications have they decided upon. In Chhattisgarh, out of the almost 27 districts, some of them did not respond (to the RTI request) and 10 of them responded back saying that they had never set up a District Level Committee.

National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights became the petitioners. They also have members from the state of Chhattisgarh. This petition was basically filed to ask for district level committees to be set up and to also ask for government hospitals to ensure that MTP services are provided and that they are as per law. We used the RTI data, the data that was available in the public domain about the condition of access to Medical Termination of Pregnancy services in Chhattisgarh and with individual stories of other woman and some clinics in Chhattisgarh (to file the PIL).

The case was decided in January 2017. When the petition was filed in 2014, I think there were only 30 registered centers that were available and at the end of the petition, there were 150 centers that were available.

Data that the state gave showed that they had actually done a fabulous job. Even though this was on paper, we still wanted an opportunity to be able to counter what the state is saying on paper but we were unfortunately not given that opportunity. But even then an increase from 30 to 150 is quite high even if it is only above 50 percent accurate. That is still some access that has been created because of this petition. It also enumerated the number of professionals who have been trained under the MTP Act to be able to provide MTP services. That had also drastically increased. We had also asked for other things in the petition where we said that not only should a government hospital or a private clinic be prepared to provide for MTP but it should also be prepared to deal with any eventuality. There should be access to blood banks, clean water, electricity etc. but all of those things were not really dealt with by the court and the matter was disposed off.

 

10 things that you don’t know about abortion in India

There seems to be a lot of general misconception or lack of clarity about getting a Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) or an abortion in India. Many women aren’t aware that it is legal in India to get a pregnancy terminated. It is important for women to know what is and is not a right with respect to getting an abortion. Here’s a list of 10 things that you might not know about getting an abortion in India:

1. Abortion is legal in India

Abortion or medical termination of pregnancy is legally permitted under certain circumstances up to twenty weeks of pregnancy. According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971, pregnancy may be terminated under certain circumstances. This includes

  1. Rape
  2. Physical or mental risk to the health of the pregnant woman
  3. Failure of contraception in case of married women
  4. Chances of disability of any kind to the child

2. Woman has the right to say yes or no to an abortion

Though MTP Act does not confer the right to terminate a pregnancy on demand, she can choose to say no to a forced abortion. She has the right to continue with the pregnancy and have the child. No one can force her to get an abortion. Now that is a punishable offence says the MTP Act!

3. You need only your consent to get an abortion

If you are a pregnant woman who wants to get an abortion, remember that only you need your consent to get an abortion. If you are above 18 years of age, you need no one else’s permission to get an abortion. If the doctor or personnel in any hospital asks for your parent or husband’s consent, let them know that it is your body and your right.

4. Pregnancy can be terminated till 20 weeks of pregnancy

The MTP Act allows for any pregnancy to be terminated within 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, in January 2017, the Supreme Court had granted permission to a rape survivor to terminate her pregnancy at 24 weeks since the foetus was found to not have a head. It is worth noting that an amendment drafted in 2014 sought to increase the pregnancy termination limit to 24 weeks from the present 20 weeks.

5. Every termination of pregnancy may not be a foeticide

The termination of a pregnancy is a foeticide only if it is done after a sex determination test. The PCPNDT Act was passed in 1994 to prevent female foeticide based on sex determination tests. Only if an abortion is proven to be done due to a sex determination test, it becomes a punishable offence.

6. Sex determination may not be possible with 12 weeks of pregnancy

Here’s the thing with sex determination test, the PCPNDT Act punishes the technician who performs the test. Usually, sex of the foetus cannot be determined within 12 weeks of pregnancy. So an abortion done with 12 weeks of pregnancy cannot be pinned on sex selection. That said, forcing a woman to do a sex selection is a punishable offence.

7. Only a Registered Medical Practioner (RMP) can do abortion

It is important to get any pregnancy terminated by a Registered Medical Practioner. This may seem like a trivial detail when you are looking to get an abortion. But it is something that is to be taken quite seriously considering that unsafe abortion could leave to several complications. The MTP Act prescribes the requirements for any doctor to become a Registered Medical Practioner. This involves several levels of rigorous training to ensure that the doctor is well qualified to their job. Hence it is important to get an abortion done only from a Registered Medical Practioner.

8. Abortion can be done only in a government hospital or District Level Committee approved place

Similar to the need for Registered Medical Practioner to perform an abortion, it is also necessary to get an abortion in a government approved hospital. A pregnancy can be terminated only in a government hospital or a hospital approved by a District Level Committee set up for this purpose. If you are unsure about where to get an abortion, head to the nearest government hospital to avoid any complications that may arise to due to unsafe abortion.

9. Abortion is not a right

Getting an abortion may be legal in India, however it is not a right that women have. What does this mean? It means that you cannot get an abortion on demand, which means that a woman cannot ask to be aborted by a doctor. It can be got only for one of the reasons stated above.

10. Doctor can refuse to perform an abortion on any woman

Considering that abortion is not a right in India, any doctor may refuse to terminate a pregnancy. For instance, the woman may mention risk to physical or mental health as a reason for requesting a termination of her pregnancy. However unless the doctor sees that to be a real risk, they can refuse to terminate the pregnancy.

To listen more on this issue, check out our podcast where Jasmine George, a lawyer and sexual and reproductive health advocate discusses MTP Act with us.

Where Can I Access Safe Abortion Services In Chandigarh?

By Aisha Lovely George (Hidden Pockets Collective) & Nafisa Ferdous (CREA)

This piece was first published on CREA on 22nd May,2017.

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.

Often, the first major difficulty that women face is locating facilities for obtaining safe service. This was the origin for Hidden Pockets and CREA’s mapping exercise. Hidden Pockets with support from CREA conducted a mapping exercise in Delhi and Chandigarh to locate approved Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) centres and then geolocate them on digital maps. We believe in making data publicly available to so that people can conveniently locate public health service centres that are both affordable and offer quality MTP services.  These maps give out details of approved health facilities and can easily be accessed through any of your digital devices.

 

Chandigarh