Exploring pathways of unsafe abortion: a prospective study amongst abortion clients in selected hospitals of Madhya Pradesh, India

Sushanta Banerjee, Ipas
Kathryn Andersen Clark, Ipas

Nearly 30 years after enactment of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) act, unsafe abortion continues to be a neglected women’s health issue in India. This prospective study in ten selected hospitals aimed to understand the incidence, types and severity of post-abortion complications, probable causes of complications, and consequences to women in terms of hospitalization and incurred costs. Among 1565 women presenting for induced abortion-related services between July and November 2007, 381 women with post-abortion complications consented to participate. Data reveals a high prevalence of post-abortion complication (29%). Approximately half of women originally attempted to induce abortion at home using medication, homemade concoctions or traditional methods. 90% of women sought care from either qualified (37%) or unqualified providers. This study suggests that supporting access to safe MTP services and improving community awareness on legal aspects, safe methods and approved providers are all necessary to reduce morbidity associated with unsafe abortion.

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Presented in Session 22: Abortion in India