20 Lakh Women Die Due to Abortion Every Year: Survey

New Delhi: Thirteen per cent of 1.5 crore women, who go for abortion to get rid of unwanted pregnancy, die every year, according to a recent survey.

Executive Director of Population Foundation of India, Poonam Muttreja, who works in the field of women’s interest and family planning, yesterday said that this information was given by the International Institute of Gutmaker and the Indian Institute of Population Sciences in a report submitted to the government.

“Lack of knowledge of family planning and ignorance is the main reason for these deaths. To prevent such deaths, there is a need to work extensively across the country,” she added.

Ms Muttreja said that in the first official figures, only six lakh women had abortion recorded every year, whereas the figure of non-governmental organisations was 10 million. “But now the figures of the government and other organisations are the same.”

According to them, 1.5 crore women get abortion every year, out of which 13 per cent, i.e. about 20 lakh women, die. “This figure includes cases of illegal abortions made to hide crime,” she added.

“From the developed countries like the US to the under-developed African countries, the situation is critical due to lack of awareness and knowledge of the family planning,” she pointed out. “Awareness can reduce death by more than 50 per cent annually.”

Ms Muttreja said that the budget for health and family planning was proportionally very low. It is 4.5 per cent in South Africa, 3.7 per cent in Thailand, 4.7 per cent in Brazil, 3 per cent in China, 3.1 per cent in Russia, while in India it is only 1.33 per cent.

Referring to the hygiene campaign, she said, “If the campaign starts with primary health centres, then half of the diseases can be reduced. Apart from this, we have to work on social awareness too.”

Arun Nair, who works with Marie Stopes International (MSI), said, “There are challenges in the way of introducing the slogan of “Child by Choice not by Chance” and the role of women in family is important.”

Nair said that the MSI has been working in the field of family planning in 13 districts of Rajasthan since 2008. “It would be better, if more private hospitals and NGOs are pooled in by the government. Although the government is doing its best,” he opined.