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SAMYAK is now designing innovative projects focussing on women’s rights, working with men and boys, livelihood and education, and promoting health rights. We look forward for potential partnerships with donor agencies with critical perspectives.

Advocating Against Sex Selection issues and for Access to Safe Abortion Services (2014-2017)

Sex selective abortion is just one of the many manifestations of gender inequalities in India and, despite the liberal abortion laws, controversy over sex-selective abortion is increasing the barriers to many women accessing second trimester abortions in India. Private health care is the largest sector providing abortion services in India and with increasing government action to prevent sex-selective abortions as per the PCPNDT Act the private sector is becoming more reluctant to provide second trimester abortion services. Denying access to safe abortion services compels women from vulnerable and marginalized sections of society to seek abortions from unsafe providers. The confusion amongst the general public, media and health care providers about the PCPNDT Act and women’s rights to safe abortion services reduces the political space for pro-choice activists to speak out against sex-selective abortion whilst defending the right of a woman to access safe abortion services.

This project (2014 to 2017) focused on building effective policy and public advocacy for access to safe abortion services by reducing this confusion through research and engaging with public health system and private health care providers
The project is supported by International Planned Parenthood Federation (Safe Abortion Action Fund) and it also has a technical association with Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP).

Project objectives:

  • Strengthen advocacy initiatives, through creating the platforms where civil society can come together to advocate for safe abortion services for poor and marginalised women in Maharashtra

  • Improve the perceptions and attitudes of health care providers and PCPNDT implementers trained by SAMYAK to one of pro-choice in 10 districts of two regions of Maharashtra, within 3 years of the project.

Key activities under this project:

  • Building critical mass for women-centered advocacy for safe abortion services through strengthened dialogue between civil society, private and public sector health care providers, government authorities and media.

  • A qualitative research with private and public health care providers in Maharashtra

  • Training with key stakeholders including as medical college teachers, nursing teachers, doctors and concerned government officials from PCPNDT, Women and Child Development Department of government, Public Health Services.

  • Capacity building of civil society organizations on SRHR and access to safe abortion.

  • Media workshops with representatives of local print and electronic media

  • Publication and dissemination of newsletters, flyers, stickers and information guidelines on separating sex determination from access to safe abortion

  • ‘Marjee’, an information telephone hotline on access to safe abortion services and contraception for women, men and youth in Maharashtra.


  • Reach out to 386 private and public health care providers in the first round of training through perspective building workshops on access to safe abortion services.

  • Built a critical mass for women-centered advocacy for access to safe abortion services in the state of Maharashtra by reaching out to over 90 NGOs/civil society organizations.

  • Capacity building of over 70 media representatives on use of pro-choice language and images for the reporting of the issues of sex-determination and access to safe abortion

  • A research paper is published internationally in Reproductive Health Matters (RHM) [Potdar P., Barua A., Dalvie S., Pawar A., “If a woman has even one daughter, I refuse to perform the abortion”: Sex determination and safe abortion in India, Reproductive Health Matters, 2015, 23(45):XX-XX]

  • Publication and dissemination of communication materials including newsletters, stickers, guideline for separating issue of sex-determination from access to safe abortion

  • Alliance built with women’s health rights movement and organizations and the issue of access to safe abortion is included in the state-level charter of demands by women’s health movement in Maharashtra.

  • Over 100 villages passed resolutions demanding access to safe abortion while opposing to sex-determination

Project Resources