Majority among them are unmarried girls, particularly teenagers, who out of fear of social stigma opt for over the counter abortion pills or take services of untrained para medics.
Unsafe abortion after an unwanted teenage pregnancy can be damaging, both physical and psychological. The need for the young is to take precautions and parents to be patient so that kids can confide in them without fear. The solution lies in empowering adolescents/teens with sex education for leading a healthy social life. Teens need to act judiciously by setting priorities in life and not succumbing to peer pressure. Mistakes are an important part of personality development, hence one should not be ashamed in admitting them before parents because they are the only ones who eventually will stand with you. If taking parents in confidence seems difficult, seek help from elders you feel comfortable with and go to a qualified doctor because life is more important.
This was shared by Prof Rekha Sachan, a faculty at obstetrics and gynecology department, KGMU, while speaking at the 36th Annual Conference of the Lucknow Obstetricians and Gynecologists Society (LOGS) and Gynecology Academic Welfare Association on Friday.
Over 5,000 delegates are participating in the three days conference. Prof Sachan said that many teens try to self-abort their pregnancies for fear of being judged by a doctor and society. They consume over-the-counter abortion pills or go to untrained quacks/midwives.
“It is advisable for girls not to try to end pregnancy on their own or by untrained persons,” she said.
Dr Chandravati, chairperson of the conference, said that unsafe abortion attempts not only cause immediate damage to physical health, but around 10% of females who get unsafe abortion face infertility due to infection or damage to fallopian tubes or other complications.
“The numbers are alarming. Six out of 10 (61%) of all unintended pregnancies, and 3 out of 10 (29%) of all pregnancies, end in unsafe abortion,” she said.
Females should understand all women or minor girls can abort pregnancy up to 20 weeks from a registered healthcare practitioner and their confidentiality is maintained. Hence there is no need for unsafe-termination of pregnancy as it is the fifth biggest reason for death of females, she added.
“There was a need to educate both boys and girls on this subject in schools and at home. Often in a relationship, the boy gets the drug and the girl takes it for fear of pregnancy. They don’t really know whether the girl is pregnant or not, and they don’t seek medical advice. This can lead to incomplete abortion and other complications.Some of them go to midwives in village or in town areas who often complicate the condition further,” said Dr Priti Kumar, organising secretary.