In our society, there is a belief that abortion is ‘sinful’ because it is akin to ‘ending a life’. That is why in our community or in our family no one wants to talk about abortion. There is a feeling of hesitation while addressing abortion which is in fact caused by the stigma which in turn develops a sense of fear in the minds of women. This is why many even consider abortion a crime.
However, the fact remains that many women, whether married or unmarried, do need abortion services in their lives. But the problem arises in accessing these services in a stigma-free environment. And the problem gets even more compounded if the woman is unmarried. When an unmarried woman is pregnant, questions are raised on her character. She is judged as being shameless, careless, of loose character, etc. However, not many people know that if a woman is pregnant but is not ready to become a mother, then within 20 weeks an abortion can be conducted and is even legal in India. Due to the lack of awareness and education about abortion, people consider it as completely illegal. The challenge here is to make people aware that not only is abortion legal, but also safe if conducted by registered medical practitioners under the conditions laid by the law.
According to the World Health Organisation’s data (updated in 2016), approximately 22 million unsafe abortions are estimated to take place each year globally; almost all of them taking place in developing countries. Many women have to still undergo health complications in a country like ours, where safe abortion is legal and can be made available to women.
Encouraging conversations about abortion can help clear misconceptions about it. We as volunteers of FPA India, focus on spreading awareness about abortion rights in new ways such as campaigns, street plays, short films, and others. If we continue to do so with dedication, we will definitely achieve success in making people aware.
Through Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), we need to educate men and women about their sexual and reproductive rights, and for long-term results it is necessary to talk to men about the rights of women. When both, men and women, are aware of abortion rights, then can they go ahead in the right direction. To get people to understand that it is alright to get an abortion done using legal and safe methods, it is us, the youth, who need to contribute to this cause, and bring about a change for a better future.
Gwalior Branch, FPA India