Safe Abortion – A choice?
Imagine that you’re going to buy a new car. You would spend weeks, maybe even months debating the idea, researching and comparing different brands. You would discuss it with your friends and family, taking into account their opinions and views.
You would make sure that you’re financially stable enough to accommodate the costs of the vehicle, along with additional expenditure on fuel and repairs. In other words, you wouldn’t actually purchase the car until you were 100% sure of your decision.
The decision to have a child is much more important than just buying a car. It’s not something to be done on an impulse, and most women know this. But sometimes, due to no fault of their own – the failure of a contraceptive pill, perhaps – they get pregnant.
Now, the woman in question does not want the child. She is unsure of whether she’ll be able to make time for a baby in her busy lifestyle, and was not particularly ready for motherhood in the first place. What is she to do?
The argument that most “Pro-Life” organizations give against abortion cites moral principle as one of the key points. They claim that the act of getting pregnant itself entrusts the woman with the responsibility of looking after the unborn child, and must hence go through with the pregnancy.
This is not true – First of all, this movement argues that even a non-viable, undeveloped human life is sacred, must be protected and is more valuable than that of a fully grown woman. This is a severely harmful mindset, especially when it comes to teenage pregnancies, rape survivors or situations where the mother’s life may be in danger.
“Secondly, by law, every woman has the right to decide what to do with her body”
Women are, after all, human beings with lives, families, and ambitions. To refuse their right to safe abortion would be to strip them of their identity. It is indirectly saying – You are not a person, but merely a container for a fetus.
In India, especially, the prejudice against abortion is high…
The fact that The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP) legalized abortion as far back as 1971 ought to be some consolation, but the truth is that over 10 million women in India seek out unsafe abortion practices in secret, every year.
One reason is that the shame and stigma that comes with pre-marital sex makes them fear discrimination from their families and communities, but the other could be that safe abortion options are simply not available to them.
Most of these women follow through with unsafe practices, risking their own lives in the process. It is sad that they don’t even know that they are being denied of their basic reproductive rights.
According to the MTP Act, in India, a woman is entitled to safe abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It is important to keep in mind that pregnancy, to a woman, is perhaps one of the most determinative aspects of her life. It disrupts her body, her education, her employment. Perhaps even her family life.
The very impact that it has on her, the fact that it is a matter of such fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved proves that she, and she alone, should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.
An adult woman requires no other consent but her own!