Introduction to the campaign

Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in India. The burden of abortion related mortality and morbidity is disproportionately higher among adolescents and adult women from marginalized groups.

Though abortion is legally available under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) of 1972, but poor implementation of the Act and quality of abortion services pose several barriers for women’s access to safe abortion services.

In India, it is estimated that 6.7 million of abortions are performed in facilities other than registered and government recognized institutions, often by untrained persons working in unhygienic conditions, thus posing substantial threat to women’s health. Where abortion performed under safe conditions, the risk of procedure is very low (0.6 deaths per thousand procedures); however unsafe conditions mortality can be 1,000 times higher. Globally around 70,000 women die from complications related to unsafe abortions, of whom over 1 in 10 are from India.

Considering the current scenario, the need to take concerted action to preserve and enhance access to safe abortion prompted some organizations and individuals working on women and health issues to launch a campaign.

Highlights of the campaign:

  • Improving access to safe abortion
  • Addressing gender discrimination including sex selection
  • Affirming women’s reproductive rights and right to self-determination

The campaign will:

  • Build on current available evidence on abortion to articulate and affirm women’s reproductive rights, including their right to safe abortion.
  • Dialogue with stakeholders on the need to work on sex selection without compromising women’s reproductive rights, including their rights to safe abortion.
  • Broaden support for safe abortion through the involvement of more stakeholders to clarify concepts and concerns around women’s reproductive rights, including their rights to safe abortion.

Working Group of the Campaign:

ANS, ARTH, CEHAT, MASUM, CMNHSA, HealthWatch and MASUM (full form) (The campaign have been initiated by members.