Abortion Research Compendium – India

Unsafe abortion: Combating the silent menace
Shilpa Mishra,Sudhanshu Kumar Rath

Background: Medical abortion (MA) is the mechanism by which the administration of one or more drugs willingly interrupts a pregnancy. Around 46 million induced abortions occur annually worldwide. About half of these are unsafe abortions and they occur in developing countries. With the goal of decreasing the number of maternal deaths due to unsafe abortions, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of India (1971) was adopted to legalise abortions. Medical method involving ingestion of oral drugs is an accepted mode of MTP. However, self-administration of MTP pill carries number of risks. This study was carried out on women who presented with complaints following self-administration of abortion pills. 

Materials and Methods: An observational study was carried out in 100 women who reported with complaints seeking medical help following consumption of abortion pills to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences and Pradyumna Bal Memorial Hospital (PBM), Bhubaneswar between September 2018 and June 2020. 

Results: Unmet need for spacing and unwanted pregnancy was the main reason behind self-administration of these pills. Most frequent presenting complaint was excessive bleeding per vaginum (78%). Twelve (12%) of the women presented with severe anemia and another 12% were diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy. Surgical intervention was needed in a majority (84%) of the cases. 

Conclusion: These unsafe abortions mostly go unnoticed and come to the limelight only when women present with serious consequences. This study highlights the immediate need for regulation and prohibition of unrestricted access to these drugs by the public.

Mishra S , Rath S K, Unsafe abortion: Combating the silent menace. Indian J Obstet Gynecol Res 2021;8(2):146-149

Published Material / Journal Article / Research Study