Abortion is a very sensitive topic. But even if we want to have a discussion on it with our families, we do not receive a positive response and the topic is always avoided. This happens because of the sense of shame attached with abortion. I had a friend who was unmarried, but she became pregnant. When her family found out about her pregnancy, she was beaten and humiliated. She was made to feel ashamed to such an extent that she ended up committing suicide. I wish she would have met someone who would have guided her well on the safe methods of abortion, so she would have been alive and amidst us today. Not just her, but many women have to face a similar reaction from their family and friends. The society has these deep-rooted beliefs about abortion which are the cause of stigma associated with it.
When I first came in contact with the FPA India staff, I learnt of the MTP act of 1971 and my misconceptions were cleared. I understood the most important fact – that abortion is not a sin. But our families and even the society, do not allow us to openly discuss anything associated with abortion.
To find an apparently ‘less shameful’ solution to ending their pregnancy, many women end up going to unqualified, back-alley service providers (quacks). Unsafe methods used by them, may create further health complications or even prove fatal. That is why I think, it is always better to go to a certified clinic like FPA India’s, with a qualified medical practitioner who could terminate the pregnancy using safe and legal processes.
I wonder why we don’t discuss about a sensitive issue like abortion, especially when we consider it very important to discuss about our health and well-being. If Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) including information on abortion and sexual health and rights is made a compulsory part of our academics and education, it will help us young people to understand and handle these issues better.
The essential problem in our society is that women are never given a choice. When the partner and family of a woman don’t allow her to opt for abortion or even talk about it, she ends up opting for unsafe methods. One of the worst things that could happen to a woman is – not being allowed to independently take decisions about her own body, only because of stigma.
Today, the world has made such progress. The digital world has taken over everything and even provides answers to all questions. The internet is also easily accessible to all and searching for information is right at our fingertips. However, while information on abortion is easily available online, it is essential that families start discussing about it so that every person has access to safe abortion services in a stigma-free environment. We, the youth, must try to discuss about abortion as much as possible and spread the word to save lives of many girls and women, and even empower them with the right to make a choice about their own body.
Jaipur Branch, FPA India