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Abortion in India: The legal scenario
In India, abortions have been legalized since the introduction of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in 1971. There have been many revisions in the laws from time to time making them more women-friendly. This has been done to make Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) accessible to all women and girls.
As of today, abortions in India are permissible for the following reasons:
This is one of the most common reasons resulting in unplanned pregnancies. Couples who are not planning their family tend to use contraceptives. There are several contraceptives available and even natural methods of contraception are common. However, contraceptives can fail and result in unexpected pregnancies.
Have you also discovered that you are pregnant? You may be wondering, how is it possible after using contraception.
Sometimes, you can get pregnant even after using some form of contraception.
Well, if you do not want to keep the pregnancy, you can obtain a legal abortion. Earlier, abortions were available for this reason only to married women in India. Luckily, the latest MTP Act amendment came as a big change. It legalized abortions in India even for unmarried girls and single women who get pregnant due to contraceptive failure.
Although you can get a legal abortion throughout India, you can get Gentle Care abortion only in Bangalore. So, pick up your phone. Call Bangalore Genesis Hospital (BGH) helpline number to inquire about the earliest slot.
Gentle Care abortion is
- 100% successful and
Only a single patient receives undivided attention at a time. Hence, you need to first book an appointment. You can get an abortion for the reason of contraceptive failure. And that too with your consent only if you are above 18 years. Do not delay in seeking an abortion. You may not want to take the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
To protect the woman’s physical and/or mental health and/or life:
Many a time, wanted pregnancies can pose a threat to the patient’s life. Pregnancy complications can put the couple in a difficult situation. In such a situation, the couple has to make a difficult choice. However, a healthy woman can try for a healthy pregnancy in the future. But, as of now, she may need to terminate this pregnancy to save her health and life.
Abortion in India is legal for such cases. And there is no ceiling age for abortion as long as it is essential for saving the patient’s life. However, beyond 20 weeks of gestation, the opinion of two doctors is essential.
It is possible to detect several fetal deformities during prenatal screening. Many tests like ultrasound, amniocentesis and others help in this detection. Some disorders are developmental like neural tube defects, cerebral defects, limb disorders, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, chromosomal aberrations, etc.
Sometimes, there is a substantial risk of the fetus being incompatible with life. At times, fetal heartbeat is not visible on time. Many times, the growth of a fetus is not as it should be for a viable pregnancy. There can be ectopic or faulty pregnancies also.
Sometimes, the child to be born may not survive. Even if such a child survives, he/she may suffer from serious disabilities (physical or mental).
Abortions in India are permissible to such women and couples. They can obtain an abortion at any time of the pregnancy.
In events of sexual assault:
Sexual assault is yet another reason for unwanted pregnancies. Continuing such pregnancies can pose threat to the patient’s mental wellbeing. Abortion in India is legal for terminating such pregnancies up to 20 weeks with a single doctor’s opinion. However, with the opinion of two doctors, such women and girls can obtain abortions for up to 24 weeks.
Gestation age for abortion in India:
Abortion in India is permissible for the aforementioned circumstances. However, it is important to consider the safety and health outcomes of abortions. The government allows abortions for up to 20 weeks in normal cases such as contraceptive failure. However, for some special cases, this permissible age is up to 24 weeks. And for further incidents, there is no upper ceiling age. There have been changes in gestation age with MTP Act revisions, the latest being MTP Act, 2021.
Earlier, the gestation period was only 12 weeks with one doctor’s opinion. This has now been extended to 20 weeks with one doctor’s opinion. It is up to 24 weeks with the opinion of two doctors in special cases.
These special cases are:
- Minors, but parental consent is essential for minor abortion in India.
- Victims of sexual assault or rape or incest.
- When a pregnant woman’s marital status changes while being pregnant. Some of the cases that can put her in such situations are widowhood and divorce.
- Women suffering from physical or mental disabilities.
- Fetal anomalies.
- In events of emergency or certain humanitarian settings.
Consent for abortion:
Women in India have permission to legally terminate their pregnancies. This permission is available under permissible circumstances with their consent only. However, they need to be adults, i.e., have attained an age of 18 years for the same. Minors can get an abortion in permissible events with parental consent.
Unlike in many other countries, a partner’s consent is not mandatory if you wish to have an abortion in Bangalore, India.
Confidential abortion in India and the law:
With the latest revision, a doctor for abortion cannot reveal patient details to anyone besides the patient herself. A person found to be sharing personal details of any patient becomes eligible for legal punishment.
Besides, all these patient-related factors, the MTP Act also specifies things like:
- Who can perform an abortion?
- Where can one get an abortion?
- Guidelines to be followed for each abortion method.
Safe abortion in India
Having women-friendly abortion rules allow married and unmarried women access to safe abortions. As per an estimate, nearly 15.6 million abortions take place in India every year.
And many often go unreported. So, the number could even be higher.
Besides, more than half of the abortions are unsafe leading to maternal mortalities and morbidities. And unsafe abortions stand at being the third-largest reason for the same. This means, that nearly 10 women in India pay the cost of abortion with their lives daily. And many more suffer from life-long morbidities like lost fertility, internal injuries and more.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC)–Service Delivery and Training Guidelines for safe abortions. This is to ensure that abortion is safe. And it delivers the prescribed medical care to each patient. It covers all aspects of abortion care from pre-abortion counselling to post-abortion recovery.
Safe abortion is when:
- Performed by a registered medical practitioner who qualifies for performing abortions. And has received training for the same.
- Performed at a registered abortion clinic or hospital.
- Safeguards the patient’s physical, mental as well as emotional health.
- Respects the patient’s right to information and decision-making.
- Protects the patient’s right to privacy and hence maintains essential confidentiality.
Safe abortion in terms of the patient’s physical health:
Abortions are likely safe medical procedures. They intend to terminate a pregnancy and empty the womb of gestation products. However, just like any other medical procedure, there are many complications and risks with abortions. A safe abortion takes care of all these important considerations. It protects the patient’s health.
A safe abortion does not cause any internal injury. It does not impact future pregnancies. It does not cause any other complication that can cause an emergency like heavy blood loss of an anemic patient. Therefore, it is essential to sit in with your doctor to discuss all the abortion options. A qualified and experienced doctor can help you figure out what’s best for your health and life.
Unsafe abortions can cause several complications like:
This can be as heavy as needing a blood transfusion. Anemic patients can undergo Gentle Care suction abortion because it causes minimal bleeding. Whereas, medical abortion leads to spontaneous miscarriage which is accompanied by abdominal cramps, pain and bleeding.
The use of sharp tools can cause injury to internal organs. An injury to reproductive organs can lead to impaired reproductive health. The woman may face difficulty in conceiving in the future. And some complications are long-term such as adenomyosis, synechiae, etc. Some complications can lead to recurrent miscarriages. Even distortion in the uterus shape can be a probable reason for impacting future reproductive health.
These are very common with unsafe abortions. Women become more prone to infections during their menstrual cycle. And the same is true even during abortions. A qualified doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to prevent the occurrence of infections. And it will also be taken into consideration whether you are allergic to any of the medicine(s). The doctor carefully chooses the best medicine to be taken prophylactically. Severe infections can lead to fatal sepsis.
Safe abortion in terms of the patient’s mental health:
Abortions can be mentally traumatizing experiences. And a safe abortion protects the mental and emotional well-being of the patient. Patients seek abortions for different reasons. They all have different stories behind their pregnancy. And they all need a personalized and differentiated treatment, unique to each patient.
It is normal to be feeling confused, conflicted, alone, deserted, sad, anxious or even guilty when you come for an abortion. And these feelings often get influenced and see an exponential increase by the societal stigma. Stigma can be seen with both abortions as well as premarital sexual relationships in the case of abortion of unmarried couples.
But when it comes to healthcare professionals and the hospital staff, women seeking abortion deserve respect and treatment without any prejudice. Prejudice is a very common abortion fear that prevents unmarried girls and women from accessing safe abortions. Most of them resort to unsafe abortion methods such as buying abortion pills in Bangalore fearing the treatment they may receive. And this treatment we are talking about here is not just the medical treatment, but the behavior.
Many past abortion stories of women have been very painful in this regard. They reported having received very rude, harsh and even personal remarks upon seeking abortions. Many of them said that they received indifferent treatment from the doctor and nurses. Some were compelled to feel guilty for getting pregnant and then for seeking an abortion.
However, a safe abortion does not discriminate against any patient on such a vague basis. Patients should return home with confidence and on a happy note feeling happy about their health and treatment. An abortion may come as a gloomy experience for many women and couples. However, it may be a time for them to start again, better and healthy.
Abortion in India: Approved methods
There are three safe abortion methods as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for terminating intrauterine pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies are however differently treated. Even in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has adopted the use of these safe abortion methods in its abortion guidelines. These include:
- Medical abortion
- Vacuum aspiration abortion
- Surgical abortion
Medical abortion in India:
It is the earliest abortion method available for terminating intrauterine pregnancies less than 6-8 weeks. This method involves abortion with the help of safe abortion pills. The two approved medicines for abortion in India are Mifepristone and Misoprostol. The two pills work together in inducing a miscarriage.
However, it has several disadvantages. These are heavy bleeding, abdominal cramps, pain, discomfort and fatigue, waiting period and most important, incomplete abortion. Many women seeking safe abortions prefer the suction abortion method. Besides, abortion pills are not safe for all women and girls alike. Many women are not eligible for abortion pills. And when they resort to self-abortion with pills, they overlook these important considerations. And hence, suffer emergency complications.
Vacuum Aspiration abortion in India:
It is the most preferred method of abortion for terminating early pregnancies that are less than 12 weeks. Even women who are eligible for abortion pills prefer suction abortion for its advantages over abortion pills.
In this method, suction is applied to manually aspirate the embryo from the womb. It is a non-invasive in-clinic abortion method that gets completed in less than 10 minutes. However, abortion care varies from clinic to clinic.
Gentle Care suction abortion is available for terminating early pregnancies at Bangalore Genesis Hospital.
A Gentle Care suction abortion is:
- Painless: The patient does not feel any pain during or after the abortion. Unlike abortion pills, there are no abdominal cramps or pain. In clinics where suction abortion is available, there may be an electric aspirator. In such events, pressure control is not in the hands of the doctor. Whereas, Gentle Care suction abortion is done with a manual aspirator. The doctor gently pulls the pregnancy. Since the hand-held device is used, the doctor can control the suction pressure. And hence, it is absolutely painless.
- Minimal bleeding: With a Gentle Care abortion, the pregnancy tissue is removed at the clinic itself. Most of the womb cleaning is complete. And hence, the patients bleed very little post-abortion. Whereas, with abortion pills, there may be a heavy blood loss.
- Complete abortion: The doctor carefully removes all pregnancy products. And hence, the abortion is successful. The patient does not have to wait for days to be sure of a complete abortion. She can leave the Bangalore Genesis Hospital (BGH) knowing that her abortion was successful.
- Pregnancy symptoms: With medical abortion, pregnancy symptoms wean away gradually. Whereas, with Gentle Care suction abortion, there is a significant and quick drop in the pregnancy hormone levels. This results in rapid weaning away of nausea, vomiting, tender breasts, bloating, etc.
- Quick and single-appointment: With medical abortion, the patient may need more than one appointment. However, Gentle Care suction abortion is a short and quick procedure that takes less than 5-10 minutes to complete. It is a single appointment procedure and you may not need a follow-up visit. However, with abortion pills, follow-up is essential to check if the abortion was complete.
Surgical abortion in India:
Surgical abortion in India is available for terminating late-stage pregnancies. The late-stage pregnancies are the ones beyond 12 week period. But they are still eligible for legal abortion.
Many conventional hospitals use the Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) procedure to remove the embryo and clean the womb. The method involves dilating the cervix region and then scraping off the uterine lining to detach the embryo and other gestation products. But, this method can cause internal injury or scarring since a sharp curette is involved.
Moreover, hospitalization may be necessary to completely dilate the cervix using dilatants. And then, with a single doctor attending to several patients in less time, the recovery may also be in a general ward with other patients.
However, if you are in Bangalore or can travel there, you can obtain a Gentle Care surgical abortion at BGH. It is a gentle method that does not need any hospitalization. Although the method is slightly invasive, it is precisely done by experienced doctors. The technique used also varies in method and performance. Gentle Care surgical abortion involves pregnancy termination by the Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E) method.
In this method, no long-term dilatants are used. After the patient’s admission, the latest dilatants that work quickly are made use of. The doctor gently spoons out the embryo and other pregnancy products. They are then aspirated by suction just as in the suction abortion method. The entire procedure lasts less than 20-30 minutes. A registered anesthetist puts the patient on anesthesia for a short term. It can either be general anesthesia or local anesthesia. This makes the procedure absolutely painless.
Gentle Care abortions are however available only by appointment to give the best abortion care to each patient. Only a limited number of patients are admitted at a time. But do not worry. You will not get to see any fellow patients. Your abortion consultation and procedure all remain confidential.
The consultation is provided in a comfortable one-to-one setting. Abortion takes place in a private examination room and no cold operation theatres. Then, you can rest for some time as you feel like in your private room. Most women take discharge within an hour post-abortion. And the hospital will really be helpful to you too in case you are looking forward to having a safe, legal and confidential abortion in Bangalore.
But do not forget to check out the available spot. Inquire at the earliest.
Book a consultation and abortion appointment in Bangalore at the best abortion hospital.
Abortion in India is legal, but before having one, you should think about all of your options. Even if you know that you are going to have an abortion, there are still many options that you need to consider before having the actual procedure. Doing this before having the abortion will help ensure that you are going to have the best experience possible for yourself.
It is important with any major life decision to think about all your options and truly weigh the pros and cons before making up your mind about a specific action. The same can be said about trying to decide if you want to have an abortion.
Still, though, even once you have made up your mind about the process, there are many decisions that you need to make. For example, an important consideration that you need to decide is where you are going to go to have the procedure.
There are many places that you can go to get this done. Because abortion in India is legal, there are many clinics, as well as doctor’s offices, that offer this service. However, they are not all the same, and some are better than others.
Another consideration you should have is what type of abortion you are going to have. Like most medical procedures, you have options. However, what your options are will depend on how far along you are and what is legal where you are.
The three main abortion procedures are medical abortions, early pregnancy surgical abortions, and late pregnancy surgical abortions. The first is performed through the use of medication designed to make the body induce an abortion on its own. The last two use a surgical process to suction out the pregnancy.
Deciding what type of abortion to receive is something that you and your doctor are going to discuss together. He or she will be able to walk you through your choices and help you come up with the right plan for you.
This is another important consideration in itself. You want to make sure you find a clinic that is going to want to help you make the right decision. This can be seen through actions such as fully and easily answering your questions and concerns, no matter what those may be, and offering both pre and post-procedure counselling.
Even though abortion is legal in India, you should not just rush out to the first clinic and have it done. There are many things you need to factor into your decision-making process.
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