India Has Six Million Abortions Annually, Figure Could be Higher

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 20, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

India Has Six Million Abortions Annually, Figure Could be Higher Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 20, 2004

New Dehli, India ( — As many as six million abortions occur in India annually and the number could be higher. The figure is ten times the official government estimate and is likely so high because residents of the Asian nation consider abortion a method of birth control.

The Abortion Assessment Project India (APP-I) surveyed the number of abortions in regions across the country.

Given that some abortion facilities don’t report all abortions and that women in rural areas often use herbs, medicines and other chemical mixtures to cause abortions, the six million figure is likely too low.

Ravi Duggal, coordinator of the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes, conducted the APPI study.

Duggal told the Indo-Asian News Service, "Around 4.8 million abortions are performed by formal service providers and another one-third of the abortions by informal service providers."

By comparison, approximately 1.3 million abortions are reported annually in the United States.

Duggal indicated that the last government census report estimated 600,000 abortions were performed in India each year.

"Reporting to the authorities is not complete so there are large gaps," Duggal said Monday as he presented the full report.

According to the IANS news story, Duggal said that "abortions are used frequently as a contraceptive to limit the family size or space out family."

Despite abortion’s legality, the study found that as many as one-third of women in India report complications following the abortion.

The study called for increased awareness of contraception methods as a way to reduce the number of abortions.

In addition to high abortion numbers, India has long faced the problem of sex-selection abortions and infanticide because of a cultural bias in favor of having sons. The Indian government has been tackling the problem and put in place restrictions on when ultrasounds can be used during a pregnancy.

Last week a woman was compensated by an Indian court after British-based abortion business Marie Stopes botched the abortion of her twins.