As part of a Population Council program of research on unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion in Rajasthan, the Council and Ibtada conducted a qualitative exploration of attitudes and behaviors regarding unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion in Alwar district. The study was intended to lay the groundwork for two quantitative studies on abortion undertaken subsequently in six districts of Rajasthan. The qualitative exploration shows that women, particularly those who are poor, turn to largely untrained community-level providers for abortion services. Additionally, women use home remedies in an often unsuccessful attempt to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Women with greater financial means obtain surgical services from a private gynecologist. The remaining women are left with little choice but to avail of services from informal providers that they often recognize to be unsafe and/or to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. This report encourages innovative means to improve access to legal, safe, and effective abortion services at lower levels of the public health system, and suggests that the feasibility of training certain informal providers to offer safe abortion services, particularly at early gestations, should be explored at the policy, program, and research levels.
Elul, Batya, Hillary J. Bracken, Shalini Verma, Rajani Ved, Rajesh Singhi, and Karin Lockwood. 2004. "Unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion in Rajasthan, India: A qualitative exploration." New Delhi: Population Council.