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Socio-demographic profile of women undergoing abortion in a tertiary centre

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Induced abortion is the most controversial area of family planning and it is often the most important method of fertility regulation by a community to control family size. Although abortion has been greatly liberalized, the annual number of legal abortions performed in India is 0.5 million of the annual estimated 6 million abortions.

Material and methods

This cross-sectional, descriptive, population based study of the socio-demographic profile of women was conducted between March and August 2007 in the Family Planning Clinic at AIIMS, New Delhi. An ethical clearance was obtained and informed written consent taken from both the partners. Hundred and eighty women requesting an abortion were eligible for inclusion.


Mean age of the participants was 29.2 years (range SD ± 3.5) and mean parity was 2.8 (range 1–6, SD ± 0.9). Thirty-four percentage of women reported a previous abortion in the preceding 2 years. 52.5% of women whose present pregnancy was unintended had used a highly effective form of contraception 6 months before the event, like oral contraceptive pill (18.2%), condoms (36.8%), withdrawal method (32.5%) or periodic abstinence (12.1%). The reasons cited for termination of pregnancy were unplanned pregnancy 32.8% women, inadequate income24.6%, family complete 20.3% and contraceptive failure 22.3%. The vast majority of women were uneducated (34.8%) with 31.4% having passed high school and above while 33.8% had left their education before completing high school.


In a country like India with its vast population women in their reproductive age-group face a set of problems not only because of low literacy, low socio-economic status but also because they have lack of control over their reproductive intentions and are ignorant as to how to fulfill them. Abortion is a vulnerable time for all women and is a good opportunity for intervention for the ones belonging to the lower socio-economic strata of society who have less contact with health professionals. Thus there is a need to provide fertility regulation services keeping the users perspective in mind. The current study highlights the need for population based contraception and greater awareness of the use of contraception.

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Correspondence to Anupama Bahadur.

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Bahadur, A., Mittal, S., Sharma, J.B. et al. Socio-demographic profile of women undergoing abortion in a tertiary centre. Arch Gynecol Obstet 278, 329–332 (2008).

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