When the pregnancy is unplanned a woman always goes through a major dilemma. Obviously she has two options…to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to consider an abortion. Myths around abortion can mislead them to take ill informed decisions.

So here I discuss the myths and scientific truths around the abortion.

1.    Asking for or doing an abortion is illegal.
No. In India it is perfectly legal to seek abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy for certain valid reasons. I have helped many women (rape victims/ when foetuses were abnormal) to seek permission from courts even beyond 20 weeks. The law is likely to change and it will allow women to terminate the pregnancies later than 20 weeks.

2.    Abortion causes breast cancer:
No.  it is true that those women have children and breast feed them have less chances of breast cancer. But that does not mean that abortion directly increases the risk of breast cancer. In 1997, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study with 1.5 million participants–which concluded that there is no independent link between abortion and breast cancer.

3.    The fetus gets consciousness as early as 8 weeks or feels pain.
No. Although the brain development begins 7 weeks, it is very primitive. For generating response, feeling or high cognitive behaviour complex brain structure is needed.  For the brain to perceive pain it needs neo cortex which does not develop before third trimester.

4.    Human life begins at conception.
It is an interesting ethical, moral question. Many have tried to answer this question in their in their own ways. In 2000, the British House of Lords established a Commission of Inquiry into Foetal Sentience, which estimated that higher-level brain development begins to commence at about 23 weeks. For legal purposes the rights accrue to a human being only after the human being is born alive on the earth and not before.

5.    Abortion may lead to difficulty in becoming pregnant.
No.  The process of abortion have become very safe. Earlier the abortion decided easier it is for the woman to undergo. It is very rare that abortion can be linked to future infertility.

6.    Abortion leads to gynaecological problems.
No. it is like any other medical procedure and does not have long term consequences. Only if the woman is undergoing abortions frequently it may cause a problem.

In nut shell abortion is safe. But avoiding unwanted pregnancy by using contraception is safer.

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