Availability, practices and acceptance of postabortion contraceptive services in health facilities: A study in six states of India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objective: To assess the availability of and practices around postabortion contraceptive services in health facilities, and document women’s acceptance of postabortion contraception in six Indian states. Study Design: We conducted a survey of 4001 public and private health facilities that provide abortion-related care in six Indian states. In this analysis, we assess the availability and range of contraceptive methods offered, the protocols and practices around postabortion contraceptive counseling, the extent to which facilities require women to adopt contraception, and contraceptive uptake among women. Results: Although some contraceptive methods and information were available at a majority of facilities (75–97%), the range of methods was lacking and the information provided to women varied considerably by state. 8–26% of facilities required women seeking induced abortions to accept a modern contraceptive method. Only half to two-thirds of postabortion patients adopted a modern method. Conclusion: The limited number of methods offered in facilities suggests that some women may not obtain the method they desire, or get information about the full range of methods that should be available. While contraceptive uptake should be voluntary, the requirement imposed by some facilities for women to adopt a modern contraceptive method in order to obtain an abortion must be addressed. Implications: Some 15.6 million Indian women had an induced abortion in 2015. Understanding the provision of postabortion contraceptive services in health facilities, including counseling, is necessary to inform policies and practices to better enable women and couples to make informed decisions to prevent future unintended pregnancies.