Over eight years to 2016, as India’s population surged, the use of contraceptives declined almost 35%, as abortions and consumption of emergency pills–both with health hazards and side effects–doubled, according to health ministry data.
Despite a 14% percentage-point rise in national literacy over a decade to 2011, hazardous birth-control measures of the last resort, emergency birth-control medication and abortions, are becoming the first choice among both poorer and wealthier, better-educated Indians. The result is that India’s population, now estimated at 1.32 billion, is expected to surpass China’s within the next six years and reach 1.7 billion by 2050, according to World Health Organization projections, even as millions of women die from unsafe abortions.
While condom use declined 52% over eight years and vasectomies fell 73%–indicating greater reluctance among men to use birth control–the use of oral birth-control pills fell 30% between 2008 and 2016, the data showed.
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