Monday June 24, 2019

A Report Shows That Globally 25 Million Unsafe Abortions Take Place Every Year

Every year 25 million unsafe abortions take place, which compromise the sexual and reproductive health of women around the world, revealed an alarming report published in the journal The Lancet.

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Baby in womb, Wikimedia

Every year 25 million unsafe abortions take place, which compromise the sexual and reproductive health of women around the world, revealed an alarming report published in the journal The Lancet.

The report showed that globally as many as 180 million couples get affected by infertility; nearly two million people become infected with HIV and nearly 266,000 women die from cervical cancer.

About one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence, most often from an intimate partner.

The researchers urge for a new, bold agenda to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights of women around the world.

“Gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide take an enormous toll on individuals, communities and economies. We must not continue to tolerate this problem,” said Alex Ezeh, Commission Co-Chair and former Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Centre.

The researchers noted that meeting the need for modern contraception, safe abortion, and maternal and newborn health care in developing regions would cost just $9 per person per year.
representational image. pixabay

“It’s time to eliminate these inequities with a comprehensive approach that doesn’t overlook critical components like access to safe and legal abortion, prevention of reproductive cancers, or treatment for infertility,” Ezeh added.

Moreover, each year in developing regions, more than 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception; more than 45 million women receive inadequate antenatal care, or none at all; and more than 30 million women deliver their babies outside of a health facility.

The researchers noted that meeting the need for modern contraception, safe abortion, and maternal and newborn health care in developing regions would cost just $9 per person per year.

Access to sexual and reproductive health services saves lives, improves health and well-being, promotes gender equality, and increases productivity and household income.

Also Read: Some Teens Are More Likely To Undergo Abortion

The researchers called on countries to tackle restrictive social norms, laws and policies, and to hold governments accountable to their commitments.

“For too long the world has accepted these stark realities as inevitable. Our report shows how they can be overcome, laying out a roadmap that countries can use to put essential services and interventions in place,” said Ann M. Starrs, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute — a US-based non-profit. (IANS)

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Madras HC: Rape Victims Should Not be Unnecessarily Compelled to “Knock Doors of Court” for Abortion

"The victim girl should not be unnecessarily forced to move court for abortion"

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rape victims, abortion
The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. Pixabay

The Madras High Court has said that rape victims should not be unnecessarily compelled to “knock doors of the court” to terminate their unwanted pregnancy.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, in his order delivered June 19, ruled that if a victim suffers an unwanted pregnancy and its duration has not exceed 20 weeks, then the “victim need not be referred to the medical board and the termination of pregnancy can be done as per the provisions of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.

“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” If the pregnancy has not breached the 20 weeks mark, then the length of the pregnancy is irrelevant, and instead the life of the pregnant woman shall be prioritized, the court said.

abortion, rape victims
Madras high court. Wikimedia Commons

For isolated cases, where the length of pregnancy has exceeded 20 weeks, the medical practitioner shall take immediate steps in accordance with the MTP Act to save the pregnant woman’s life, it said. The victim, in this case, was blackmailed into having sexual intercourse and had got pregnant. Eight weeks into the pregnancy, after being denied any relief from government hospital, she moved the court.

The police informed the court that victim had requested assistance in terminating the pregnancy during the registration of the rape case. However, police apparently refused to help her, and then she pooled her resources to get admission in a private hospital, but was discharged without undergoing abortion.

The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. The victim had, on June 8, consulted a doctor at the government-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children and General Hospital here. The doctor found her eight weeks pregnant but instead of terminating the pregnancy, referred her to another government hospital.

abortion, rape victims
“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” VOA

On June 12, the high court gave strict instructions to admit her at a government hospital and carry out the necessary medical procedure. On June 17, the doctors aborted the pregnancy. On June 19, the matter came up for further hearing before the court, which remarked that the hospitals wrongly interpreted the provisions of the MTP Act, and made the victim run from pillar to post.

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Lashing at the government and doctors, the court said: “In cases of this nature, the doctors and the courts need to be more sensitive and should act fast since the victim girl is carrying a foetus, which keeps reminding her of the agony faced by her due to rape and every moment she suffers mental agony and depression due to the unwanted pregnancy that has been forced against her.”

As the victim’s counsel requested the court to issue guidelines to ease the abortion process for rape victims, the court said that medical boards have already been constituted across the country to address request of similar nature. (IANS)