If it is their womb and their life, why abortions should be someone else’s choice
The parliament of Argentina, in a historic decision, legalized the abortions up to 14th week of pregnancy recently. It was called a ground-breaking decision as the country had some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws. This will come as a relief for women who were thinking of unsafe and illegal procedures of abortion because it was not legal in the country.
Many of us don’t know about the abortion laws of our country. We will try to understand the importance of abortion law and where does India stand in abortions?
The Union Cabinet had cleared a long-pending change to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which raised the legally permissible limit for abortion to 24 weeks from the earlier 20 weeks. The new also accepted contraception as a valid reason for abortion not just for married women but also for unmarried women.
This amendment placed India in the top leagues of countries who give freedom to women to make individual choices from their predicaments and perspectives. The upper limit was raised for everyone including rape survivors, minors, victims of incest and differently-abled women. The new law is more empathetic, forward-looking and looks at the sensitive issue with a human race.
What Government had said?
After the amendment, the government had said that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is intended to expand access of women to safe and legal abortion services on eugenic, therapeutic, social or humanitarian grounds. The amendment is a step towards the well-being and safety of women as it will benefit many women.
Several petitions were received by courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of pregnancies due to sexual violence, foetal abnormalities faced by women. The new law will increase the gestational age to ensure confidentiality, dignity, justice and autonomy for women who want to abort the pregnancy.
Why an abortion law is important?
Despite many efforts, contraceptive use is not very popular in India. As per the study of Guttmacher Institute, 50 per cent of pregnancies in six larger states- Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujrat -are unintended. The National Family Health Survey 4 data showed that only 47.8 per cent couples use modern contraceptive methods and only 53 per cent use any method at all. The NFHS 4 found out that 53 per cent pregnancies in Bihar, 49 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 50 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 55 per cent in Assam and 43 per cent in Tamil Nadu were unintended.
Estimation of unintended pregnancies is important as it mostly results in abortions and the availability of cheap and safe abortion services is one of the indicators of the vigorous healthcare system.
According to a 2015 study published in The Lancet by the Guttmacher Institute and the IIPS, an estimated 1.56 crore abortions were performed in India in the year 2015. This translates to an abortion rate of 47 abortion per 1,000 women aged 15-49.
Abortion is women’s choice
Abortion is women’s right and it should be her choice not just in the papers but also in the real life. In rural areas, women hardly have their say in these decisions as the male of the house or her husband decides it.
The impact of pregnancy on a woman varies immensely on the economic resources, woman’s health, family relationships and the availability of medical care. These factors along with other factors influence a woman’s decision to either carry a pregnancy to term or abort it. Given the complexity of the decision, a woman herself is the best person to decide the fate of her pregnancy.
There are many women who opt for abortions because of emergencies. A lot of them are not ready to become a mother as it a huge, life-changing and expensive event. There are cases when women don’t get enough support from their partners. Some of them are young, some are not mentally prepared. Some of them want to finish their college or continue their career paths so that they become able to give a good life to their kids.
We have found some comments on Rediit where women are talking about abortions.
Whenforeverinst says on Reddit “I need my partner and I to be on the same page. My past and current boyfriend, before even sleeping with either of them, I asked how they would feel if I accidentally got pregnant and had an abortion, since that is probably what I would do. If their answer wasn’t of support, then I wasn’t going to continue being with them.”
Absinthemarigold says “I always tell these people: men have every right to express their opinion on abortion and what they’d want. And frankly, they should do it before the clothes ever come off (that way we know who not to fuxk). But that’s as far as it goes. No. They get no legal say until and unless they are the ones who are pregnant.”
u/Lionoras writes on Reddit “We all know that there is something that can go wrong during sex & pregnancy. Birth control can fail. Sex is not “just” for making kids (it’s designed for it, but you also don’t use a spoon to eat soup, right?), a fetus can become deformed, a woman could have been pressured into sex, doesn’t have the recourses…there are a lot of reasons.”
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