Friday December 15, 2017

DIY abortions: To do or not to do?

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By Roshni Chakrabarty

When 19-year old Shalini Mundra (name changed) sat down to take a breather from her badminton game, she felt that something was wrong. When she got up, she found a bloody patch on the seat. “The blood had totally soaked through my jeans! I didn’t even know when I started bleeding,” she said.

An hour and a half earlier, Shalini had pushed in four pills vaginally to induce a miscarriage of the 7-week-old fetus in her uterus. The bleeding lasted throughout the night. “I was going through one sanitary napkin per hour. I had never seen this much blood,” she added.

The next day the bleeding trickled down to a light flow but she still didn’t feel right. She waited for five more days to get most of the chemically-induced hormones out of her system and took a pregnancy test again. It turned out to be positive. An ultrasound confirmed her pregnancy; she made an appointment with a gynecologist and subsequently got a clinical abortion.

Not many are as lucky as Shalini when it comes to illegally sold over-the-counter abortion pills. “The guy took extra money because the pills are only supposed to be sold through a doctor’s prescription.” This trend has seen a huge rise in the sale of abortion pills with more and more women going to the doctor due to complications.

CYTOTEC
Sold under the brand name Cytotec, misoprostol is approved to induce abortion when taken with mifepristone, or RU-486. At times, doctors use it to induce labor, though it is not approved for that use. Apparently, the side effects from taking the pill vary from woman to woman.  Additionally, after the procedure, if a tiny portion of the foetus remains in the uterus, the woman would suffer from continuous bleeding. If left untreated, she could die. An ultrasound scan needs to be done to make sure that the abortion is complete. If not, the fetal remains need to be scraped out of the womb surgically in time. A medical abortion cannot be carried out in case of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy, where the fetus grows outside the uterus. Doing so can rupture the fallopian tube leading to infertility.

Though Shalini regrets not consulting a doctor before taking the pills, she vouches for the medical procedure and goes on to say: “If I had seen a doctor, he could have told me exactly how to take the pills and if my body was ready for it or not. However, I still think that if perchance this happens again, I would always choose the medical procedure rather than the surgical one.”

There are complications if the pills are not taken under medical supervision and if the pregnancy is of more than seven weeks. If taken at a later stage, the pills may cause severe infection, profuse bleeding and in rare cases, it even causes infertility making conception impossible in future.

“If the pills are taken without appropriate medical consult, many complications can surface. Understanding the duration and nature of the pregnancy is very important. Sometimes, it is an unnecessary intake of pills and at times, it might not even work. The chemists are unable to guide the buyers properly,” said gynecologist Anita Gupta to NewsGram.

Due to social stigma faced by any unmarried woman going in for an abortion, many don’t even report to have used a pill when they go in to the hospital for treatment in case of complications. Young girls try to dress and talk in a more mature manner to hide their age. It is due to these stigmas and a lack of proper sex education that more and more women are resorting to go for a discreet pill-popping. To avoid unsafe practices, doctors and health officials are training the pharmacists to responsibly dispense abortion pills. “However, to ensure their safety, one should always consult a doctor before buying these pills,” says Dr Gupta.

 

Next Story

How Extravagant Weddings Has Denied Daughters In Punjab

The new wedding trend has now caused parents-to-be to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

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Image Source:reckontalk.com
  • There has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011.
  • Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.
  • Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

Glamorized by movies, the media and the wealthy diaspora overseas, weddings have become a status symbol. The new trend of weddings has made it a very costly affair. While the rich enjoys such extravaganza, some can only dream of a wedding.

A large part of Punjab remains agricultural. To pass down their lands to the coming generations, sons are preferred over daughters.

Green Revolution had an adverse impact on Punjab which forced farmers to cultivate crops that required large quantities of water. But high costs of fertilisers and acute shortage of groundwater and equipment to drill the water out landed farmers in a vicious cycle of debts.Their financial condition further pushed the patriarchal society into sex-selective abortion.

According to the dailyo article, there has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011. Women make up 47.23 per cent of Punjab’s total population, compared to 48.5 per cent at the national level. The state’s female to male sex ratio of 895 per 1,000 in 2011 is far lower than the national average of 943 in 2011.

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A farmer who is now crippled with debts and on the verge of committing suicide would prefer a son to a daughter. Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

He certainly cannot keep with what is now a trend of high-priced weddings. But for something decent as it is expected from the society, the debt-ridden father takes more loans from ruthless private lenders as it is the only option available.

In Punjab, women are largely homemakers and the state’s female workforce participation rate is 13.9 per cent whereas the national average is 25.5 per cent according to the 2011 census data. But the male participation is at 55.2 per cent as compared to 53.3 per cent at the national level.

 

Image Source: elephantfun.com

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The Punjabi weddings are known for their lavishness and extravaganza. Expensive diamond jewellery, decorated elephants,  fancy gold-studded invitation cards, glittering wedding attire, imported alcohol,  famous DJs, and grand hotel receptions kind of sums up a wedding. The gifts to the bride include brand new furnished houses, acres of land and of course, cars decked with ribbons and balloons. Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.

This trend has now caused parents-to-be  to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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