Reproductive Rights: An Essential Healthcare Need

Abortion refers to terminating a pregnancy before it reaches its stage of feasibility. It involves the expulsion or removal of the fetus (or embryo) from the womb. people opt for abortion due to varying social, cultural and economic reasons. Some may not be financially equipped to raise a child, while some may have conceived accidentally which includes both consensual and non-consensual sexual intercourse. reasons for abortion also include the unstable mental or physical health of the patient and other underlying medical issues which may pose a serious threat to the life of the pregnant person.

, my own take on abortion is that it is a fundamental right that should be granted to all people of reproductive age.  the ultimate decision of bearing a child should lie in the hands of the pregnant person. . Around 5%  of all the women in the world reside in countries that do not allow abortion in any circumstance.  22% of women live in countries which permit abortion only if the pregnancy is deemed life threatening.. What these countries and their abortion laws fail to recognize are the reasons, often  socio-economic that make abortion necessary. These laws deny the right to privacy and the right to bodily autonomy to their citizens. Access to safe, medical abortion is a basic healthcare need. Criminalizing abortions doesn’t reduce its number. instead, it makes the people seek unsafe methods for abortions.

“An Abortion is unsafe when it is carried out either by a person lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both. Characteristics of an unsafe abortion touch upon inappropriate circumstances before, during or after an abortion”

WHO

With unsafe methods for abortions the patients risk many problems post  surgery which includes immediate death which could be due to severe haemorrhage, poisoning, uterine perforation or damage to other internal organs., and  dangerous long-term effects that affect their mental and physical well-being. Resorting to such unsafe methods lead to life-threatening consequences such as When a patient who now is in danger due to an unsafe procedure is admitted to the hospital, most of the cases need a blood transfusion, reparative surgeries or hysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus). Doctors also reported having found trauma marks like the insertion of sticks or traces of bleach in the blood system, resulting from patients attempting to perform an abortion by themselves. Think of the pain and trauma, mental and physical, of that.

There is also an increase in cases of swindling and deceit, With abortion being illegal and perple who need it desperate enough, con artists and unqualiied people could pose as a certified proffesional much too easily for easy money. I don’t need to spell out the consequences of this.

All the deaths and long-term implications caused can be prevented if these countries enable access to safe and legal abortion.

Anti-abortion laws not only prevent freedom of choice to patients, but also to the physicians who are unable to make important medical decisions due to the law barring them. Moreover, the stress, physical and mental exhaustion on the patient is unimaginable. If the baby is born against the will of the parent, and if they are in no condition to undertake such a huge responsibility, it leads to an increase in abandonment of children, domestic abuse, which takes a toll on the physical and emotional well-being of an entirely new generation.

In another larger context, the problem of overpopulation is only intensified when legal access to abortio is rescinded and criminalized.. Contraception and abortion go hand in hand. It is not to say that abortion is compulsory for population control, but allowing for its safe and legal access is certainly imperative for birth control. Recent developments which have led to a diverse gender spectrum means, it is not just cis-gender women (people who have been assigned female at birth) who need abortions. Transgender men and boys, and people with other gender identities who have the biological capacity to become pregnant also require such facilities.

At the end of the day, it is our body and decisions pertaining to its well being pertaining to it cannot be made by another institution. Bodily autonomy is the right of every individual and States which are preventing their citizens from accessing it must be held accountable on an international platform. To ensure the safety and well-being of its nationals is the responsibility of every state and access to fundamental reproductive rights is no exception!

B Aishwarya Lalita

SY Bsc.

Sources:

Pilpel, Harriet. “The Right of Abortion.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 Aug. 2018 www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1969/06/the-right-of-abortion/303366/.

Gaddah, Rasha. “Abortion in the Arab World – Politics – Egypt.” Ahram Online, 3 Aug. 2019, https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/341914/Egypt/Politics-/Abortion-in-the-Arab-world.aspx

“Abortion.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/abortion

“Here Are the Basic Facts about Abortion That You Should Know.” Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/abortion-facts/  

“Unsafe Abortion: a Forgotten Emergency: Womens Health: MSF.” Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International, 19 July 2019, www.msf.org/unsafe-abortion-forgotten-emergency-womens-health

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