The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services. According to a recent report by Marie Stopes International (MSI), millions of women worldwide lost access to contraceptives and abortions during the lockdown.
India is the worst-hit country, with 1.3 million women losing access to contraception and safe abortion during the lockdown. The report estimated that there will additionally be millions of unsafe abortions, 650,000 unintended pregnancies and 2,600 more maternal deaths in India due to this crisis.
Another report by Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India had found that several states faced a shortage of abortion pills due to the pandemic. As per the report, only 2% of the pharmacies in Haryana, 1% in Punjab, 2% in Tamil Nadu and 6.5% in Madhya Pradesh had abortion pills in stock.
Unequal access to contraception is already a grave problem. In situations of conflict and global disasters, this access is affected even more severely for the marginalised. In such situations, access to free/affordable and emergency contraceptives becomes even more important.
It’s important to understand that access to contraception, especially during a pandemic, is not a luxury, rather extremely necessary and essential. Governments and political institutions must ensure access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contraceptives and sexual and reproductive health services are part of essential health services and access to them is a fundamental human right. Covid-19 response plans must address this and include relevant strategies to provide access to contraception during the pandemic.
Have questions about sex, pleasure or contraception? Find My Method’s newly launched forum is here for the rescue! On the forum, you can discuss all your questions and concerns about contraception and remain anonymous. With a room for discussion dedicated to users from India, you can ask and share localised information both in English and Hindi. Click here to visit the forum right now!
This article is published as a part of the #MyBodyMyMethod awareness campaign on contraception. Feminism in India and Find My Method will be talking about the various forms of contraception, busting contraception myths and taboo, and much more throughout the month of September, 2020. Find My Method works to provide accurate contraceptive information for a global audience. You can find localised information that is easy to understand, and is globally representative on Find My Method’s website and forum. You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.