Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Goyal was on the expert panel at the discussion on the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act organised by the Family Planning Association of India spotlight series. The event was hosted by the CommonHealth and Masum on November 9th, 2021 and was moderated by Dr. Alka Barua from Abortion Theme Lead, CommonHealth. Akanksha Moray from FPA India and Sara Gattani from India Safe Abortion Youth Advocates were also panelists at the discussion.
Nidhi Goyal shared her specific insights on abortions and women with disabilities, especially in the context of India. She noted that the grouping of women with disabilities with survivors of violence and minors is important, keeping in mind the access to abortion that women with disabilities have. She also said that Disabled feminists are being portrayed as anti-choice, but the reality is that we are just challenging the inherent ableism of these clauses.
“The clause of extension of the gestation period is seen as a way to reduce the burden of the healthcare system. This raises questions around people with chronic illnesses, malnutrition and other conditions that need support.The conversation around this gestation period and around clauses of foetal anomalies is important to challenge the ableism in our society and how we perceive disabled people on a whole. This is important to do and essential in centering the experiences.”
Other panelists also spoke about the lack of focus on abortion within our curriculum, pointing out that textbooks speak of abortions as a cause for maternal mortality, and not unsafe abortions. 50 years have passed since the MTP Act was passed but healthcare professionals still struggle with seeing women make reproductive decisions for themselves. Guidance is required not just around techniques for safe abortions but also behavourial responses from the healthcare system.
Our tweet thread to this discussion is here.