myths about abortion
myths about abortions

It’s high time we get rid of these pernicious myths about abortion that add to abortion stigma and make abortion harder to access for women and trans people seeking access to reproductive healthcare.

1. Abortions are dangerous.

Myth: Abortions are dangerous and put the life of the pregnant woman at risk.
Fact: Abortions carried out by registered healthcare professionals are extremely safe. If 100 women use the medical abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy in the first 12 weeks, less than 5 of the would need further medical care due to any complications.

Let’s put to rest the myth that abortions are a dangerous procedure. Abortions, when conducted by legitimate and registered medical professionals, are a very safe procedure with minimal risks.

2. Restricting abortion access lowers the rate of abortion

Myth: If abortions are illegal or restricted, the rate of abortions will be lower.
Fact: Restricting access to abortions merely increases the rate of unsafe abortions, which puts women’s health at risk.  When abortion is made legal, safe, and easily accessible, women’s health rapidly improves. By contrast, women’s health deteriorates when access to safe abortion is made more difficult or illegal. Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal deaths in India.

Let’s remember that restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of abortions that take place, only the number of safe ones. Unwanted pregnancies are often a desperate affair, with people going to any cost to get rid of it. In this scenario, isn’t it better to make sure safe and legal abortion is a viable option?

3. Only bad women require abortions.

Myth: Only ‘bad women’ need abortions.
Fact: Abortions are extremely common, and a fundamental human right! 26-41% of all pregnancies end in abortions. Placing moral barriers to abortions only increases abortion stigma and reduces access to safe abortions.

Let’s get rid of the moral judgment attached to women seeking abortions. Abortion is much more common than you’d think, and people seek abortions for many different reasons – as is their right! 26-41% of all pregnancies end in abortions.

4. Free availability of abortions leads to sex selective abortions being carried out.

Myth: Free availability of abortions lead to sex selection and declining sex ratios in the country.
Fact: Estimates indicate that two to four per cent of all abortions in the country are son selective abortions. In India, 80-90 per cent of reported abortions take place in the first trimester, while the sex selection is largely an issue in the second trimester.

Abortions are not the same as son selection – let’s not conflate these two issues. Only two to four per cent of abortions in the country are son selective abortions. By viewing these two issues as one and the same, abortion is stigmatised and made harder to access for many women.

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