We are sure that many of you are aware of what’s been happening in the United States when it comes to women’s rights. In May, the state of Alabama passed one of the most restrictive laws that we’ve seen in our generation. They law states that no abortion can be performed after a fetal heartbeat is heard, which essentially eliminates all options for legal abortions for women. This includes women who are the victims of rape and incest. The Trump administration has been very openly pro-life, going against years of successes that have been achieved by the women’s rights movement.
According to the Amnesty International, 25% of pregnancies end in abortion each year, legal or not. By taking away a woman’s right to a safe abortion, governments are forcing women to seek out other illegal and terribly unsafe solutions. No matter where you live in the world, there are always options of illegal abortions because this is something that is so necessary to a woman. Pregnancy is something that is often unplanned, especially when women do not have access to the right kinds of contraception or are not educated about this. Men do not often take the lead when it comes to contraception leaving all the responsibility with the woman. According to one US-based institute, the rate of abortions in countries where it is legal is 3.4% where it’s 3.7% in countries where it is prohibited showing that this is a medical need no matter where you live.
When a country or state criminalises abortions, it’s very similar to prohibiting the sale of something. There are very few instances in where the thing that you’re banning will actually disappear, what will happen though, as we’ve seen through history (hello Prohibition) is that a large black market will emerge. This means that women will still have access to abortions but that they will be more expensive, harder to get and also much more unsafe. According to the WHO, 22 million unsafe abortions happen around the world each year and this number is only poised to rise. The difference between a safe and unsafe abortion can be the difference between a woman’s life and death. Not something we feel that male law makers should be in charge of.
All the negative effects of unsafe abortions are completely avoidable, and the same goes for unwanted pregnancies. Evidence shows that when you have limited access to forms of contraception, you will find higher rates of abortion. Either way, abortion is a human right and should be treated as one, without involving issues of religion and gender. We have been greatly saddened by the news in Alabama but hope that other states and countries will not follow suit!