After the Sangli abortion racket in March this year, in which 19 aborted foetuses were found in a dustbin, the Maharashtra committee investigating the case has taken it upon itself to prevent a repeat show. Good for you, dear committee, but can you not restrict women’s fundamental rights while you’re at it? According to a report, the committee has made a recommendation to the Maharashtra government to restrict usage of all abortion pills. This, so that these pills are not used to conduct sex-selective abortions. If implemented, this could prevent women from having abortions — even legal ones.
Abortion pills are currently classified as a Schedule H drug, which means, they can be bought at a pharmacy with a valid prescription. The committee’s suggestion is to classify abortion pills as a Schedule X drug, putting it in the same league as anaesthetics and narcotic drugs. To purchase a Schedule X drug, one needs a double prescription, one of which will be retained by the pharmacist for his/her/their records.
What does the committee think it’s playing at? Restricting access to abortion pills is only likely to cause more more illegal abortions, endangering the health of women. Not to mention, that this takes away the autonomy of women over their own bodies. In the quest to prevent a Sangli racket part two, the committee could potentially jeopardise women sexual and natal health further.
This isn’t the first time, the Maharashtra committees have tried to pull these shenanigans. On 7th April, a panel of the Maharashtra Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommended making pre-natal sex determination mandatory in order to prevent female foeticide.
What’s next? NO abortion pills? And then NO abortions? Somebody tell these committees to stop this madness and work towards preventing illegal abortions without compromising on women’s rights to their bodies or their health.