Strengthening and Implementation of MTP Act in Rajasthan and on Ensuring and Availability of Safe Abortion Services in Rajasthan, 7 November 2017, Jaipur

Shikshit Rojgar Kendra Prabhandhak Samiti (SRKPS), the lead partner of Pratigya Campaign in Rajasthan in consultation with Government of Rajasthan convened a meeting with 25 participants from NGOs, civil societies, PC PNDT officials, MTP officials, State Directorate officials and other stakeholders on 7th November to discuss the issue of gender inequities in society within the contexts of Safe Abortion and Gender Biased Sex Selection.

The meeting started with a review of the current situation of MTP services in the state and highlighted the gaps in MTP committee functioning and reporting in the state. Dr. SM Mittal, RCH Director, NHM addressed the group with his remarks on Government of Rajasthan’s efforts to reduce the incidence of unsafe abortion which is among the leading cause of Maternal Mortality. These deaths caused by unsafe abortion are easily preventable if access to safe & legal abortion services is ensured to the women. He shared that they have trained a pool of 972 providers in the last 8 years to improve availability of Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) services, and the state needs support from NGOs to expand the coverage. He emphasized that the MTP reporting has improved and currently 24,129 abortions are registered in HMIS for period 2016-17, although there is a strong need to strengthen the MTP certification and reporting system. He acknowledged the challenges faced by private abortion providers in the state and committed his support to address these challenges.

Shri Raghuveer Singh, who is leading government PC PNDT activities in the state, was also present in the meeting and he assured that the Govt. of Rajasthan is taking all measures to ensure that legal abortion providers are not harassed under PC PNDT raids. He accepted the fact that their teams have minimal information on MTP Act and they need to be oriented on the Act and its provisions to avoid any conflation. To the queries raised by some NGOs related to instances where Drug inspectors have unfairly raided & shut down the chemist shops stocking Medical abortion pills, he suggested that the state should address a joint meeting with PC PNDT officials, Drug Inspectors and MTP officials to have a common understanding on the two Acts.

Other speakers including Obstetrics and Gynecologist Dr. Mita Singh, Karuna Singh (Ipas), Dr. Vishal Singh (NIRA) and Mr. Ramesh Parmar (PSI) discussed their organization’s work on CAC and ways in which various stakeholders can work together to strengthen MTP implementation in the state. Role of media was also highlighted in covering abortion news in a sensitive manner and greater support was requested from them in dispelling myths around abortion, avoiding phrases like “foeticide and bhurnhatya” and personifying the foetus in their news artcles. The meeting ended on a positive note with everyone coming forward and committing their support to the Campaign advocacy on safeguarding abortion rights of women in communities.

As part of the next steps, Govt. of Rajasthan has taken lead to organize a 2-days workshop along with Pratigya Campaign inviting all the district authorities working on PC PNDT and MTP Act in the state to orient them on PC PNDT and MTP Acts and outlining strategies in which they can strengthen MTP implementation in the state.

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