80,000 women die during abortions every year in India

BANGALORE: Around 11 million abortions are carried out in India every year and nearly 80,000 women die during the process, according to an expert.

A majority of abortions are performed by untrained hands and studies suggest that nearly 80,000 women die due to unsafe abortions, Dr Hema Divakar, Chairperson, Federation of Obsterics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Perinatology Committee RPT Perinatology Committee.

Stressing the need to promote awareness about emergency contraception methods, she said research shows that 78 per cent of pregnancies in India were unplanned, of which 25 per cent are unwanted, leading to approximately 11 million abortions.

“The level of emergency contraception is abysmally low in India,” she told reporters on Wednesday and added that only one out of 100 women were aware of it.

Recent advertisements had fuelled some awareness, but the sale of these contraceptives was yet to pick up, she said.

An Emergency Contraceptive (EC) can prevent pregnancy by over 80 per cent if taken within 72 hours of an intercourse.

However, these pills are to be taken only in an emergency and not as a regular form of contraception, she added.

Clearing misconceptions associated with EC, she it was not an abortion pill and cannot abort a foetus once pregnancy is established.

EC acts as an interceptive agent that prevents ovulation, fertilization or implantation depending on the phase of menstrual cycle, Divakar added.

Proper and timely use of EC pills can bring down the spiralling unsafe abortions, she said.

Times of India 20 Dec 2007, 1322 hrs IST,PTI

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