Report of a multi-centric qualitative study in eight states conducted after the first phase lockdown in 2020

This research stemmed from the anecdotal experiences reported by CommonHealth members related to women’s struggle to meet their abortion service needs during the pandemic.

In a world trying to cope with a pandemic with unprecedented speed of spread, the health systems of individual countries on the throes of complete breakdown had far reaching impact on people’s lives. As governments with single minded focus tried to contain the pandemic, the collateral damage done to reproductive health of the most vulnerable sections of population such as marginalised women was completely overlooked. There was a need to explore, understand and document women’s need for and experiences with accessing time sensitive and highly stigmatised and misunderstood abortion services.

This year, 2021 happens to be the fiftieth year of the Medical termination of Pregnancy Act coming into existence in India. This report is an attempt to document abortion seeking experiences of women from marginalised groups in different regions of India after half a century of an Act that was formulated to safeguard their health and ensure safe abortion services for them. Ten CommonHealth member organisations from eight Indian states have carried out this research to understand abortion needs and the way these were met for women in adolescent age group, Dalit women, sex workers, HIV positive women and women from poor households. CommonHealth hopes that these experiences would pave the way for a more comprehensive response to women’s abortion needs in future and in
times of crises.

Download the report HERE.