Pratigya Rights
Newsletter | August 2020 Edition
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Dear Partner,
This month, Pratigya Campaign marked the 49th anniversary of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 through social media campaigns. We tracked the timeline and asked the audience how the Act can become more relevant in current circumstances.
Pratigya Campaign’s Recommendations on MTP Amendment Bill 2020
Pratigya Campaign’s Campaign Advisory Group met on August 5, 2020 to draft key recommendations to the MTP Amendment Bill 2020 in line with The Statement of Objects and Reasons, mentioned by the Honourable Health Minister, while presenting the Bill to the Lok Sabha.
The recommendations suggested do not substantially alter the MTP Amendment Bill 2020. They only make it clearer and inclusive and will be seen as path breaking in advancing abortion laws globally.
Advancing Right Based Legislation
Operational Convenience
Harmonising Bill with recent laws & judgements
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Advancing a Rights Based Legislation
First-trimester abortions on request
No upper gestation limits for survivors of sexual abuse and not just for fetal anomalies
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Operational Convenience
Extend gestation limit to 24 weeks for all pregnant persons and not be restricted to only ‘certain categories of women’
Opinion of a single provider for gestation up to 24 weeks, instead of two providers for 20-24 weeks gestation
Medical Boards should not be constituted and instead the decision should be between the pregnant person and the provider
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Harmonising Bill with recent Laws & Judgements
The term ‘abnormalities’ should be replaced by the term ‘anomalies’
The term ‘woman’ in the Bill should be replaced by person or ‘pregnant person’
Ensure confidentiality
Celebrating 49 years of MTP Act 1971
An Act that could not keep pace with the changing times, needs, and advancements in medical science has slowly lost relevance now. Medical science, technology have advanced considerably, and there is a dire need to bring progressive and inclusive changes in the Act.
This month, we used our social media channels to spread awareness around this Act, from the time of its inception, misses and gaps to all the latest updates. We reached out to partners and asked them what are the key changes they want to see in the Act.
Dr. Alka Barua, Steering Committee Member, Common Health on MTP Amendment Bill 2020
Watch Here
Availability of Medical Abortion Drugs in the markets of six Indian states - A Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India Study
Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India conducted a study on the availability of Medical Abortion drugs across six Indian states - Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. The fieldwork for the study was carried across 26 cities among 1500 retail chemists to verify the availability of MA drugs.
The study findings reveal an overwhelming shortage of MA drugs in five of the six states surveyed:-
State % of chemists stocking MA drugs
Punjab 1.0%
Haryana 2.0%
Tamil Nadu 2.0%
Madhya Pradesh 6.5%
Delhi 34.0%
Assam (69.6%) is the only state where chemists seem to be stocking MA drugs.
These findings are unfortunately in line with the findings of a similar study we carried late 2018, which revealed a shortage of MA pills in the markets of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Combining the findings of the two studies, MA drugs availability seems to be overwhelmingly poor in seven out of 10 key states in India.
Reasons for not stocking
Why are chemists not Stocking MA drugs?
Across the six states, chemists who were not stocking MA drugs (n=1018) were asked about the reasons for not stocking and multiple responses were accepted. 79% of all chemists reported legal barriers, excessive documentation and paperwork as reasons for not stocking.
The study also busts the common misconception that MA drugs are being purchased over the counter without a prescription. Chemists report that a majority of clients (77% of the last 10 clients who visited the chemists stocking MA drugs) came with a prescription.
93% of all clients who purchased MA drugs had positive outcomes with MA.
Interestingly, the study also finds a ‘shadow ban on ECPs’ in Tamil Nadu. We found that only six of the total 200 chemists surveyed in Tamil Nadu reported stocking of Emergency Contraceptive Pills. 90% of those not stocking had the misconception that these pills are banned in the state.
Our Recommendations
The study recommends addressing misconceptions regarding MA and Gender-Biased Sex-Selection.
Harmonising Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation approvals/requirements and the MTP Act.
Amending MTP Rules to allow MBBS Doctors to prescribe MA Drugs increasing investments in Safe Abortion Communication through and providing support to women who access MA Drugs by setting up toll-free helpline numbers.
Read Full Report
New Partner Aboard!
Pratigya Campaign is thrilled to welcome its newest partner - Solidarity Foundation, an organisation that is at the frontlines of social change. They bring on-board their passion and dedication towards breaking stigmas, promoting inclusivity for the minorities and speaking up for equality.
Check Out Their Work
Listen to Rupsa Malik on Vision Nari Podcast
Our CAG member, Rupsa Malik, Director of Programmes and Innovation, CREA was recently invited to the Vision Nari podcast to talk about the impact of the pandemic on our reproductive health services.
In this episode, Rupsa spoke about her childhood, educational background, her work with CREA and cited the policy brief of FRHS India in order to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on India’s Family Planning and Safe Abortion services. She also highlighted the importance of ensuring uninterrupted access to SRH services in the current times.
The podcast is now available across 12 streaming platforms namely Apple Music, Spotify, Podfollow, and more.
Full Episode
Our Social Chatter
This month we dedicated our social media space to create more awareness around the MTP Act 1971 and findings from the Availablity of Medical Abortion drugs in the markets of six states in India, a study by Foundation of Reproductive Health Services In India. We also celebrated Independence Day, World Humanitarian Day and Women’s Equality Day.
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Every individual has the right to make their own choices about their sexual and reproductive health and we at Pratigya Rights Campaign are advocating for this right.
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