"Most women are from marginalised sections of society and are denied the right to make their own decisions"
In the district of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, the summer season has started and the heat in town is already extreme.
Here, the Family Planning Association of India GCACI clinic serves many people living in poverty. In the ten years since the GCACI project started there, the clinic has provided 16,301 women with comprehensive abortion care and 202,758 women with contraceptive services.
The two-storey clinic is situated in a residential area and, inside, women queue up to see the counsellors and medical staff. Many are accompanied by link workers who have travelled with them from outlying districts.
Neelam Dixit is in charge of the branch. “Most women are from marginalised sections of society and are denied the right to make their own decisions. By the time they visit our clinic, the woman is already a couple of months pregnant”.
FPA India’s work is making an impact and Dixit is seeing views change on abortion. “There is a shift in attitude among women since FPAI started providing services. Presently, there is little stigma attached to abortion. Our aim is to provide quality health services at low cost. We create awareness about the consequences of unsafe abortion and train volunteers to be sure women in villages are aware of our clinic.”
The clinic has served around 300,000 people from rural and semi-urban populations with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, and provides both first- and second-trimester abortion services.