Abortionists in India celebrate increase in abortion after one-time drop

But lament “only” one girl under 15 had abortion

By Dave Andrusko

The graphic is labeled, “for representational purposes only.” It shows a well developed unborn baby cupped in two hands. In the background are abortion tools.

The headline to the story in the Times of India reads, “Abortions in city rise 5%, health experts dub it a ‘positive’ trend.”

The “experts” are “health experts” and the city is Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. So why is this a “positive sign”? Here’s Sumitra Debroy’s explanation.

The number of abortions in 2016-2017 had fallen “for the first time in a decade.” Going up by 5% in 2017-2018 is “indicative of the fact that more women are accessing safe abortions at legal centres.”

But the experts’ joy is qualified. They were surprised that only 4% of women “availed” themselves “of the services” in the second trimester.

Statistics say that about 15% women seek an abortion in the second trimester due to late discovery of pregnancy, decision making, healthcare access and financial issues.

“Either the women are not getting these services at the private sector or they are altogether denied by doctors fearing legal hassles often from officers overzealously implementing the MTP [Medical Termination of Pregnancy] Act,” said a senior gynaecologist from a civic hospital.

It gets worse.

There is also a dip in abortions among teens. In 2017-18, only [!] one case was registered in the ‘below 15’ group from 271 in 2015-16. It had dipped to eight in 2016-17. Women aged 20-29 accounted for over 50% of abortions done.

Of those who availed of services were also 1,453 unmarried women, which experts said is a sign that there is enabling environment for married and single women to seek the service.

What does this tell Ipas [a high profile international abortion advocacy organization]?

“It is encouraging to note that abortion services are available to girls and women of all age groups,” said Vinoj Manning, executive director, Ipas Development Foundation that works for reproductive rights.

There is no other way to read this article than a celebration of unlimited abortions, across the board.

We always need to remember who we are dealing with.