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Emergency Contraception and women’s health
– Dr Mridula Halan, Lekhika Sangh, New Delhi

A healthy society needs healthy people. Medical reserarchers are engaged in finding out new medicines and ways to give ‘Health’ to the people. ‘Emergency Contraception’ (EC) is a step in this direction.

In today’s society, crime against women is on the rise. Forced sex (of any kind) may leave the girl pregnant with an unwanted child later. It also becomes a stigma on the girl and the society taunts her and not the culprit. EC is a boon in such situations. If taken within 72 hours of the intercourse, with attached conditions, it can substantially reduce the possibility of unwanted pregnancy. What a relief to the girl!

But it is not so simple. There are many questions that remain unanswered, many conditions that are difficult to follow in our society which, by and large, is different from the Western society. The fundamental questions that should be debated and to which effective solutions must be found are :

• Is our knowledge on EC complete to take care of the health of the girl, after taking the day-after-pill?

• Is the pill easily available at an affordable price, at places where it would be needed most, i.e. the rural India?

• Is the medical fraternity prepared to give reliable and correct guidance to girls who might need the pill?

• What are the after-effects of the pill on the average Indian women?

India’s major population lives in villages, with very little education. These people must know that such a pill exists. It should be available through medical centres which can provide medical guidance.

Last, but not the least, it should not become a tool for light-hearted romance. It should not be misused. Repeated use of EC may disturb the hormone build-up, causing many medical problems.

If the Government decides to market EC, it should consider all these aspects carefully. Otherwise, a boon can become a curse.

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