MAKING ABORTION A WOMEN’S RIGHT WORLDWIDE

Women already have enough on their shoulders in this male-dominated society, and hence, denying them even the right to abortion is like adding more burden on them.

It is disheartening to see that even in the 21st century, we come across millions of women struggling for the basic rights. It makes one wonder, for how much longer do people intend to make women do things based on their ideologies. It still comes as quite a shock, that women worldwide still do not possess the right to abortion on their wish, irrespective of their drastic conditions (health issues, teen pregnancy, rape victims, etc.). Although many people might have contradicting thoughts about this particular issue, since it is a diverse topic with uncountable points of view, but still it is quite necessary to take a step towards making abortion a women’s right worldwide.

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PEOPLE'S VIEWS ON ABORTION

Generally, people don’t accept the idea of abortion wholeheartedly and tend to consider it as a sign of disrespect in society, even if the women’s health is in the utmost danger. Abortion was such a taboo topic in many areas of Asia and Africa at a time, that women’s health activists felt they couldn’t even be affiliated with a network named after the term. Because illegal abortions were only one of many reproductive and sexual health challenges that women experience, the International Women and Health Meeting in 1984 decided that it was important to fight for reproductive rights as a whole, which was a revolutionary idea at the time.

This idea, and, these issues were recognized in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action ten years later. Many countries are moving forward with the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme because, fortunately, the decisions made in the international meetings were earnestly accepted by the civilians, their parliamentarians, civil servants, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) .

The case is a bit different in some regions, where women are sometimes subjected to forced abortions. This generally comes into practice when the expectations of the family members regarding the gender of the baby do no match the reality, and hence, they tend to force the women to abort the child. The right to abortion of the unborn child should be given to the mother while the other family members should not be allowed to force their unrealistic expectations on the woman while turning a blind eye towards her opinions.

ABORTION PILLS AND THEIR USAGE IN TODAY'S WORLD

The availability and inexpensive price of the abortion pills have contributed to their usage by women, to self-induce abortions when there is an unavailability of legal abortion practices. In reality, women have been discreetly consuming it for more than a decade on the advice and
guidance of friends and pharmacists, without knowing about its side effects or its reliability completely. Since the right to abort is not legally established yet, women have to take such drastically dangerous steps just because, they are left with no other choice but to gamble their health in order to undergo an abortion.

Some abortion medicines have been studied on their own for first-trimester abortions, yet some of the pills may not be approved for some time in many countries. On the recommendation of its Scientific and Technical Advisory Group, the WHO Department for Reproductive Health and Research agreed to conduct research in this area.

TEEN PREGNANCY

Many pregnant teenagers choose to keep their children, some teenage couples opt to marry and raise their children together, while others rely on family members to help them raise their children. Although finishing school and finding a decent career might be difficult, they still tend to grow emotionally attached to the unborn child. Moreover, when they get the proper support from their significant other or their family members, they become even more confident in themselves and hence decide to juggle the pregnancy and studying/ career simultaneously. Pregnancy during adolescence might have a detrimental influence on a teenager’s future.

As mentioned above, teenage mothers are less likely to complete high school and enroll in a college, which sometimes, leads them towards poverty and makes them victims of domestic abuse. Moreover, children of teen parents are more likely to suffer from health and learning problems, as well as to be mistreated or abused. As a result of this, most teenagers tend to choose abortion as the option and must be allowed the right to abort, because it becomes too big of a responsibility for a teenage girl to handle this on her own, especially when the father of the unborn child and her own family do not support her in this hardship. It can also be possible that her body is physically incapable of properly bearing a child which could be disastrous to her health.

PREGNANCY AMONG RAPE VICTIMS

Most rape victims, especially teenagers, end up having unwanted pregnancies, which causes them bodily anguish. The kid suffers a great deal of physical agony as a result of the unwanted sexual encounter, and the resulting pregnancy leaves them helpless. Refusing to have an abortion is likely to result in one of two consequences: The first is when the victim undergoes an unlawful and dangerous abortion, which may result in death, and the second is the physical, psychological, and emotional implications of a pregnancy for which they were not prepared. Unwanted pregnancies for a rape victim, are one of the most stressful events any woman can go through, dealing with them delicately is very essential, and still, some people tend to deny their basic rights.

Although some rights for the rape victim exists but the right to abortion should be incorporated with the right of the rape victim, as well as should the right of the rape victim to choose whether or not to take a pregnancy test within one or two weeks of the occurrence, if feasible, or after a month, so that inconsistencies can be avoided. Medical boards should be granted full authority to perform abortions while keeping the victim’s health in mind and the same should be submitted with the court and reported. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, Section 3, allows abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, thus allowing medical boars the ability would prevent numerous problems.

VARIATION OF ABORTION LAWS ACROSS VARIOUS COUNTRIES

In 72 countries including China, Canada, Australia, the US, etc., which consists of 601 million women (roughly 36%) of reproductive age, the right to abortion on request is allowed and practiced. For nations in this category, the most frequent gestational limit is 12 weeks. The first day of the last menstrual cycle, which is two weeks before conception, is used to calculate gestational limits. Where regulations require gestational age restrictions to be computed from the day of conception, these limits have been increased by two weeks.

● In some countries like India, Finland, Japan, etc., comprising of 386 million (roughly 23%) women of reproductive age, when assessing the possible impact of pregnancy and childbirth, they allow the right to abortion after frequently examining a woman’s existing or reasonably anticipated surroundings, as well as her social or economic situations.

● 360 million women (roughly 22%) of reproductive age, residing in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Chile, etc., have the right to abortion under the circumstances of risk to the women’s health.

● In countries like Poland, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., which consists of about 225 million (roughly 14%) women of reproductive age, allow the right to abortion on the basis of medical or therapeutic considerations.

● Lastly, 24 countries worldwide, consisting of 90 million (roughly 5%) women of reproductive age, do not allow the right to abort on any conditions.

Many countries have a lot of work to do at the national level. Not only should laws be liberalized, but also enabling regulations, such as defining where and by whom services should be delivered, as well as authorizing provider training and information for women seeking abortions. Clearly, the key to bringing about the right to abortion, leadership, and action are required at several levels. In the last decade, several efforts have been undertaken to make abortions safer, and despite failures and opposition, significant progress has been made. The need to overcome fear and find the confidence to act and speak out in the face of anti-abortion resistance, particularly conservative religious and governmental groups that demand respect on many levels, is perhaps the most crucial. Working for making abortion a women ’ s right worldwide, necessitates a deep belief in women’s right to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own life, including whether or not to have children

                                                                                                       -BY NIKITA THAPLIYAL

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