Within the past decade, we saw a liberalization of abortion. Public campaigns were launched, social media awareness was conducted, parades were rundown, support groups emerged: All for women’s right to abortion. No matter how much of a distasteful conversation abortion is, this was a necessary conversation among us. The Internet also played a huge role in globalizing the movement to decriminalize abortion. While Malaysians used their TM Unifi and at the other end of the world, they may be used Vodafone. It does not matter how we were connected but were all together on the internet to fight against the stigma of abortions. Especially the stigma cultivated by the corrupted political laws. Given that there are still 90 million women still living in countries where they have no access or right to abortion under any circumstances. Whether it be rape, incest these women suffer from unwanted pregnancies only for men to not take any responsibility, and women putting their reproductive health in grave danger.
There are some basic things we should understand about abortion laws. A simple search using your Unifi lite coverage can you all the facts but some are still unaware. Thousands of research points to the fact that restriction or prohibition of abortion has absolutely no effect on the number of abortions. Women still undergo nonmedical abortion practices despite the laws. The laws do more harm than it does any good. Passing up on abortion laws is also not easy when the pro-life movement was popularized. What’s easily misunderstood is the concept of legalizing abortions. The legalization of abortion has no impact on saving the lives of children and women. Despite the argument of pro-life, restriction of abortions hinders the quality of life.
Again, the liberalization of abortion does not mean we are against life. However, it does mean women are given the right to what they deem fit the best for their health and body. Families are given the choice to make healthier options. Teenagers can prevent a lifetime of child negligence given the circumstances of unwanted pregnancy.
Concerning the safety of women and children, we saw a decline in the number of death among countries that deemed anti-abortion laws unconstitutional. Especially among developing countries. In 2002, South Africa reformed their anti-abortion laws, legalizing abortion. It was no surprise that the result of the reformation was astonishing. Since then the country saw an approximate 50% decline in the number of death of women due to unsafe abortions. Women were given a choice over their bodies and have safer procedures that do not put them in harm’s way. A safe abortion authorized by medical facilities is not risky, especially when it can be done with special medicine or a simple outpatient procedure.
However, fact remains that there are 25 million unsafe abortions to be conducted worldwide. And it’s even sadder when we realize that death from unsafe abortions is completely preventable. Contrary to the misbelief we hold in the normative society, legalizing abortions does not lead to a spike in the number of abortions. In fact, it is noticed that it decreases the number of abortions with increasing options for family planning and care. The awareness towards responsibility and affirmative guides to safe sexual health can have a positive impact on women’s reproductive health as well as mental health.
Criminalizing abortion is also a form of discrimination. It increases the stigma against women and their reproductive health. Abortion is a legal right of every woman. It is their body and their choice. However, when abortion is criminalized, it prevents women and girls from seeking out abortion in the fear of facing discrimination and humiliation from authorities and society. It puts them in grave danger especially if the pregnancy itself is life-threatening to both the child and the mother.
Again, it is good to remember that illegality of the matter has never stopped people. The number of people risking going to jail and being imprisoned is high in developing countries. Several cases around the world have held the world’s attention as women got imprisoned for even miscarrying or carrying out an abortion. The imprisonment was unfair, to say the least. It was a violation of human rights. And it also increases the additional burden on women and society. Risking persecution and jail puts a great strain on society, especially women. It hinders the quality of life, crime rate, and gender justice in the country.
Despite the growing number of countries liberalizing their politics in abortions, there are some countries that still prohibit abortion under all circumstances. Circumstances even rape, life endangerment, incest, and abuse also do not allow any space for reformation in abortion legality. Five percent of women of reproductive age belong to these countries.
The abortion laws in these countries are contributed by many different factors. Ethnicities, cultural values, religious backgrounds, and political alignments play a role in the criminalization. And depending on these factors and available resources, the number of unsafe abortions also varies from country to country.
Some of the countries that completely prohibit s a women’s right to abortion include, Egypt, Madagascar, Vatican City in Europe, Latin American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as well. Asian countries such as the Philippines and Laos also prohibits abortion under any circumstances.
It is still surprising to see countries criminalize abortion altogether while the rest of the world is taking demonstrative actions in liberalizing it. However, just because anti-abortion laws are now reformed, does not means all countries still do not carry the stigma. The stigma against abortion is still very strong. Taxpayers complain about why they have to deal with legalizing an action that they are affirmatively against. While stigma carries on, there are some things governments can do to create more awareness, educate and reduce discrimination.
First of all, they can implement practices and maintenance guidelines that provide successful approaches to medically authorized, safe abortions. They should also mitigate strategies to provide family planning as part of post-abortion care. Budget and funding should be planned for sex education, family care, therapy, and contraceptive usage among the youth.
In the world of social media and internet coverage supported by the likes of Unifi broadband, it is impossible to say that we are no longer part of the fight for abortion rights.