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The abortion pill

Safe, accessible medical abortion 

Women’s control over their own bodies and reproduction is a fundamental prerequisite to the achievement of sexual and reproductive health and rights. A woman’s ability to terminate an unwanted pregnancy has been seen as the exercise of her reproductive rights. This study reports on interviews with 15 women in rural South India who had a medical Termination. It examines the circumstances under which they chose to have an abortion and their perspectives on medical abortion. Women in this study decided to have an access to termination when multiple factors like lack of spousal support for child care or contraception, hostile in-laws, economic hardship, poor health of the woman herself, spousal violence, lack of access to suitable contraceptive methods, and societal norms regarding reproduction and sexuality converged to oppress them. The availability of an easy and affordable method like medical abortion pills helped the women get out of a difficult situation, albeit temporarily. Medical abortion also fulfilled their special needs by ensuring confidentiality, causing the least disruption of their domestic schedule, and dispensing with the need for rest or a caregiver. The study concludes that medical Termination can help women in oppressive situations. However, this will not deliver gender equality or women’s empowerment; social conditions need to change for that.

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