A T T I T U D E S O F I N D I A N W O M E N K. S. BHARDWAJ T O W A...
A T T I T U D E S O F I N D I A N W O M E N
K. S. BHARDWAJ
T O W A R D S A B O R T I O N
and Mrs. SAROJ MULLICK
The absolute justification for abortion is to the age group 15 to 45 and above; having
the most extreme form of social approval as 0 to 6 and more living children; experienced
Muslims consider it as a kind of murder 0 to 10 pregnancies; having a net monthly
and Hindus compare it with the crime of income of Rs. below 100 to 500 and more;
crimes. Even in Mahabharata letting a holding different occupations; varying from
woman's Rtu (fertile period) go waste was illiterates to educated up to university levels;
considered as an embryo murder. Opponents living in joint and nuclear type of families;
of abortion hold that it opens the door to the and using different methods of conception
brutalisation of society, encouraging many control. Other characteristics that were stu-
deaths, infanticides and violations of the died pertained to their attitudes towards
sanctity of life. It is also said that abortion abortion in relation to expected and ideal
undermines the social structure by ecoura-
number of children.
ging promiscuous sexual relations, by weak-
The findings of this study showed a posi-
ening family ties and by raising legal prob-
tive attitude towards abortion as stated by
lems related to property ownership and in-
62.9 per cent of the women in a sample.
heritance. The modern concept of abortion Nearly 36 per cent of the women who had
is defined as a conclusive object of the pro-
negative attitude considered abortion as a
gramme of family planning.
sin, unlawful and crime. The remaining 1.1
To evaluate the aforesaid discussion a per cent gave neutral replies. The various
study has been conducted in Delhi in January demographic and socio-economic features of
1972. The sample taken to represent the all the women who favoured and disfavoured
universe consisted of 615 women belonging abortion are described below:
TABLE 1
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO AGE
Mr. K. S. Bhardwaj, Extension Educator and Mrs. Saroj Mullick, National Institute of Family
Planning, New Delhi.
The authors are indebted to Shri S. P. Jain, former Director of International Institute of Popula-
tion Studies, Chembur, Bombay, for his valuable comments made on this paper.

318
K. S. BHARDWAJ AND M R S . SAROJ MULLICK
Age Factor
of women who favoured and disfavoured
As is seen in table 1 the age distribution abortion had two living children at the time
of women who favoured and disfavoured of interview. One of the interesting findings
abortion elucidated a difference which is not giving in table 2 was the more number of
significant according to the values of chi-
women with a favourable attitude than those
square test. The average ages for favoured with a unfavourable attitude with zero parity.
and disfavoured groups were 31.5 and 32, The average number of children were 3.4 for
respectively.
a unfavourable group. The difference bet-
ween the favoured and disfavoured groups
Living Children
of women is significant over the parity as
Table 2 shows that a maximum number indicated by the values of chi-square test.
TABLE 2
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO NUMBER OF LIVING CHILDREN
Number of Pregnancies
the occurrences of pregnancies is given in
table 3. The difference between the favoured
The number of pregnancies varied from and disfavoured groups were highly signi-
0 to 10. The distribution of favoured and ficant over the pregnancies as indicated by
disfavoured groups of women according to the values of chi-square test.
TABLE 3
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO NUMBER OF PREGNANCIES

ATTITUDES OF INDIAN WOMEN TOWARDS ABORTION
319
Monthly Income
and above for both favoured and disfavoured
The information on the monthly income groups of women. The chi-square values
also includes the monthly incomes of their showed a marked difference between the
husbands. Table 4 shows that the monthly favourable and unfavourable groups of
income varied from Rs. below 100 to Rs. 500 women.
TABLE 4
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO INCOME
Occupation
per cent to the disfavoured group. Of the
Of a total sample of 615 women, the remaining 27 women who were in business,
majority (552) were housewives — the per-
55.5 per cent belonged to the favoured and
centages for favoured and disfavoured groups 44.5 per cent to the disfavoured group. The
were 63 and 37, respectively. Out of 36 difference observed between the two sets
women in a sample who were in service, 83.3 of attitudes was found to be insignificant as
per cent belonged to the favoured and 16.7 represented by the values of chi-square test,
TABLE 5
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO OCCUPATION
Education
negative attitude had attained primary edu-
Table 6 shows that majority of the women cation. The difference between the two sets
who showed positive attitude towards abor-
of attitudes as observed by using the chi-
tion had attained education up to high school square test was found to be highly significant
level and the corresponding majority for when compared with education.

320
K. S. BHARDWAJ AND M R S . SAROJ MULLICK
TABLE 6
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO EDUCATION
Types of Families
tion were found to be living in nuclear type
of families. The distribution according to
The majority of the women who had the type of family versus attitude is given
positive and negative attitudes towards abor-
in table 7.
TABLE 7
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO TYPES OF FAMILIES
The values of chi-square test indicated that per cent of the total women who gave posi-
the difference between the positive and tive attitude and 8 per cent who gave
negative attitudes and between the joint and negative attitude were non-users. It is signi-
nuclear types of families is not significant.
ficant to note that 1.5 per cent of the total
women gave positive attitude towards abor-
Current use of Conception Control Methods tion inspite of accepting permanent methods
Table 8 shows that maximum number of of birth control. The values of chi-square
women who gave positive attitude towards test indicated a significant difference between
abortion were condom users and the cor-
the positive and negative attitudes towards
responding majority who gave negative abortion in relation to use of conception
attitude were also condom users. Nearly 13 control methods.

ATTITUDES OF INDIAN WOMEN TOWARDS ABORTION
321
TABLE 8
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO CONCEPTION CONTROL METHODS
Expected Number of Children
4 to 6 children and one child only accounted
for 32.5 and 15.5 respectively. Similarly a
The number of children expected by the majority of the women who gave negative
women in a sample were the sets of various attitude, expected to have 2 to 3 children.
combinations. As for instance 10.2 per cent The percentage for those who expected to
showed their expectations for one son and have one child and 4 to 6 children accounted
3.9 per cent for one daughter only, The re-
for 16.4 and 39.7, respectively. The dif-
maining 85.9 per cent expected to have one ference between the positive and negative
issue to six issues. Table 9 shows that attitudes of women over the expected number
majority of the women who gave positive of children was found to be significant at
attitude expected to have three children. The 5 per cent level as indicated by the values
percentage for those who expected to have of chi-square test.
TABLE 9
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO EXPECTED NUMBER OF LIVING
CHILDREN

322
K. S. BHARDWAJ AND M R S . SAROJ MULLICK
Ideal Number of Children
indicated two males and one female offspring
The responses regarding the ideal number for the constitution of an ideal family.
of children were given in multiple combina-
The details for other combinations could
tions. As is seen from table 10, a majority be visualised from table 10. The chi-suare
of the women who gave positive attitude values indicated a highly significant dif-
indicated one male and one female offspring ference between the two sets of women in
for an ideal size of family. The correspond-
relation to number of children required to
ing majority who showed a negative attitude constitute an ideal size of family.
TABLE 10
ATTITUDE TOWARDS ABORTION IN RELATION TO IDEAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN
CONCLUSION
variables which supported the concept are
The aforesaid discussion clearly supported the number of living children, use of con-
the modern concept of abortion which is ception control methods and number of
defined as a conclusive object of the pro-
pregnancies. Other supportive variables are
gramme of family planning. The main the expected and ideal number of children.
The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, (January 1973)