NEW DELHI: An estimated 1.85 million women were denied access to abortion services at all points of care, including public and private sector facilities and chemist outlets, due to the covid-19 led restrictions, according to a study
The study conducted by Ipas Development Foundation (IDF), a not-for-profit organization working in 12 states, estimated that access to abortion was highly compromised during first and second phase of lockdown (March 25-May 3) during which around 59% of women seeking abortion could not access the services.
With the lifting of restrictions, started 1 June, the situation is expected to improve as 33% abortions were compromised in 24 days.
The study assessed the near-term impact of covid-19 on abortion access in India in the first three months following the commencement of the lockdown (25 March-24 June). The model of the study strives to quantify the reduced access to abortions across three different points of care –public health facilities, private health facilities, and chemist outlets.
“As covid-19 turned into a pandemic, everyone’s complete attention and effort went to the containment of the virus, which quite naturally pushed a lot of health conditions and their management, including safe abortion, to the backseat,” said Vinoj Manning, CEO, Ipas Development Foundation said.
“Majority of public health facilities and their staff are now focused on covid-19 treatments and closures of private health facilities have compromised the access to safe abortions, which is a time-sensitive procedure,” he said.
Of the 3.9 million women seeking abortion in the last three months, access to around 1.85 million was compromised due to covid-19 restrictions, said Sushanta Kumar Banerjee from Ipas Development Foundation said.