Provision of medical methods of abortion in facilities in India in 2015: A six state comparison

Ann M. Moore, Guttmacher Institute Melissa Stillman, Guttmacher Institute Chander Shekhar, International Institute for Population Sciences Shveta Kalyanwala, Independent Consultant Rajib Acharya, Population Council Susheela Singh, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Global Public Health:

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Abstract / Summary

Medical methods of abortion, MMA, has been legal in India since 2002. Guidelines stipulate that it should be administered by a provider or acquired via prescription. 1.2 million women having abortions in India use MMA acquired from health facilities [Singh, S., Shekhar, C., Acharya, R., Moore, A. M., Stillman, M., Pradhan, M. R., … Browne, A. (2018). The incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy in India, 2015. The Lancet Global Health, 6(1), e111–e120. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(17)30453-9]. We undertook a study of abortion in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh in 2015 to better understand under what conditions and how MMA is being administered in facilities. The majority of facilities that provide MMA are in the private sector and located in urban areas. Most facilities offer MMA both at the facility and as a prescription, although some facilities only offer MMA as a prescription. A high proportion of facilities report that women typically take the medication at home. (Re)training providers in MMA protocols and counselling, increasing the number of facilities offering MMA, and stocking of the drugs would help improve women’s access to MMA and the information they need to be able to use this method safely.