According to government data for 2019-21, at least one out of every four abortions in India was conducted at home by the woman herself, and over half of the women indicated the main reason for seeking an abortion was an unanticipated pregnancy. While there are various rules in place to ensure a safe abortion, one of the most common reasons for women putting their lives in danger is a lack of information that abortion is legal and available in health institutions.
The data also shows that the percentage of abortions conducted at home by women has increased by 1% since the last time it was examined in 2015-16. “More than one-quarter (27 per cent) of the abortions were performed by the woman herself at home,” the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) report stated counting that the practice of abortion at home is much more expected in rural areas (28.7 per cent) than in urban (22.1 per cent).
Unplanned Pregnancy Gives Rise To At-home Abortions in India
Furthermore, the most desired individual to execute the abortion is a doctor (in 55 per cent of cases). The woman herself follows suit (in 27 per cent of cases). In addition, at least 10% of women stated that the previous child was too young for the following pregnancy as the primary reason for the abortion.
According to the NFHS-5, the majority of abortions (53%) were performed in the private health sector, while 20% were performed in the public health sector. As per the data from NFHS-4, the majority of abortions (52%) were performed in the private health care sector, while 20% were performed in the public health care sector. During 2015-16, more than a quarter (26%) of abortions were reportedly conducted at home by the woman herself.
Self-abortion was the most common method of abortion in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state (34%), followed by doctor and nurse/auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM)/lady health visitor (LHV) (about 30 per cent each). Unplanned pregnancy (50%) and pregnancy problems (25%) were the two most common causes for women seeking abortions (14 per cent).
The majority of abortions (39%) were performed at home or at a private health facility (38 per cent). A further 24% of the work was done in the public health sector.
The majority of abortions in Rajasthan were carried out by the women themselves (38 per cent). This was followed by a visit from a doctor (36 per cent). Unplanned pregnancy (61 per cent), pregnancy problems, and health concerns were the top three reasons given by women for seeking abortion (6 per cent each).
Unplanned pregnancy (74%) and pregnancy problems (14%) were the two most common causes for women seeking abortion in Delhi (5 per cent). Furthermore, nearly half of abortions (49%) were performed in the private sector, while only 16% were performed in the public sector. In addition, a doctor performed over half (54%) of the abortions in Delhi.
Women in Tamil Nadu indicated two main reasons for seeking abortion: health concerns (31%), and an unanticipated pregnancy (12%). (30 per cent). The vast majority of abortions (65%) were performed in the private sector, while just 26% were performed in the public sector. In Tamil Nadu, doctors performed the majority of abortions (80%).
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Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal death that can be avoided. Despite the fact that Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) has been legal in India since 1971, access to treatments remains a problem, particularly in rural and isolated areas. In addition, India’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is 130 per 100,000 live births. Abortions that are not safe account for 8% of the MMR. Many of those who survive these illegal treatments develop persistent, debilitating disorders that affect the woman’s reproductive health in the future.
The National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5) is the fifth in the series and offers data on India’s population, health, and nutrition for each state and union territory (UT). Preschool education, handicap, access to a toilet facility, death registration, bathing practises during menstruation, and techniques and reasons for abortion are all included in NFHS-5.