Abortion should be permitted to reduce discrimination

Posted on August 24, 2013 10:00 am

For millions of women around the world, abortion is viewed as the most appropriate way to solve the problems surrounding pregnancies outside marriage and in developing countries it solves the financial stresses from keeping the baby. I was watching a documentary the other day about abortion in Africa and honestly, I feel the problem has long been swept under the carpet. In the documentary, a bloke who organized the abortion for his girl friend, with whom they have been sexually active for five years but are not married, refused the idea of having a baby because he’s jobless. In his own admission, the bloke informed to the reporter that his Christian family would never condone him having the baby. That option of keeping the baby would have had lifetime consequences and in his culture such a behavior can lead to stigmatization and discrimination. His girlfriend who performed the abortion said that delivering the baby would have been humiliating and most likely friends and family would have mocked her forever, a problem that she claimed her mental state could not manage and according to them, the most appropriate thing they could do was to let this baby go. The two are among the millions of sexual partners worldwide who perform abortion every year. Unless you are an idiot, you cannot entirely blame such people because hard scientific evidence has shows that pregnancies can be accidental.

Although Contador Harrison does not advocate for abortion, information I have come across shows that undergoing an abortion is a difficult decision for many. There are other who have had multiple abortions and they have made it a habit with majority of them being sex workers. A recently released data show approximately 30 million illegal abortions are carried out each year in Africa. In many African countries abortion is illegal except when the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the mother. However as research has shown, the decision really came down to the ethics of the doctor. I do not consider abortion to be a controversial issue and from the school of thought I come from, safe abortion is not a controversial topic as some would want the world to believe. In my opinion, what matters is for example how African countries can properly implement abortion. Because of family and friends who read my blog, am very careful on this issue because in most societies and even individuals, abortion is a moral and religious issue. I hold strong views that any government must serve and respect the interests of all individuals irrespective of their color, state of mind, believes, race, sexual orientation and personal rights.

United Nations data shows that adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 account for at least 2.2 to 4 million unsafe abortions in developing countries with Latin America leading followed by Asia and Africa. Facts have placed women under the age of 25 accounting for close to half of all deaths from abortions globally. Governments should always strive to support the sexual and reproductive rights of young people that include but not limited to safe abortion that is affordable to the poor who bear the brunt of unwanted pregnancies and also support protection mechanisms that enhances the right to choose. Am not saying that we decriminalize abortion, what I think should be done is to prevent our girls and women seeking abortion service from being jailed because when they secretly undergo unsafe abortions, they can die. Studies have shown that criminal code and health laws in Africa, Latin America and Asia have traditionally imposed heavy prison sentences and hefty fines on women and individuals who seek out and perform illegal abortions. The criminalization of abortion in many African countries, in addition to cultural and traditional beliefs, has rendered health industry players reluctant to offer such services to women even under legal circumstances yet close to 60% of the maternal deaths were caused by unsafe abortions.

Whether saints or other purified members of the society likes it or not, a quick search online on abortion brings multiple advertisements on for clinics offering abortion services and they are easy to find on medical websites and blogs. Just type “abortion services” in search engines like Yahoo, Google, Bing or AOL among others and you will find multiple contact numbers for abortion services. Shockingly, statistics show that only a quarter of the women receiving abortions in Africa are not married, while three quarter of them were married. Africa is actually seeing a rising number of unwanted pregnancies as indicated by various studies that have found an increase in demand for abortions. In most countries, unwanted pregnancies are related to contraception, either because the reproductive age couples indiscipline or they don’t use contraception at all and in some rare cases the contraception fails to work properly. A survey done two years ago in Uganda and Kenya found that abortion among married women is usually due to contraception failure and they do not want to sire more children. There are close to 800,000 people performing illegal abortions in the two continues even though the punishments are quite severe. A study conducted in South Africa found patients have fallen pregnant even though they are on the pill.

The study pointed out the number of abortions in South Africa seemed to increase every year and are easier to obtain although it acknowledged that the actual number of abortions in the country are difficult to determine. Me think abortion should be permitted in special cases where pregnancy is caused by unhealthy pregnancy or rape and I do believe that relevant authorities should make the exceptions very clear so that they do not offer a leeway for criminals to perform illegal abortions. Study conducted in Uganda and Tanzania in 2010 showed there was high number of married couple preferring not to use contraception and most of them rely on the coitus interruptus method or the calendar system both of which are not very reliable in preventing pregnancies. Me think abortions should be carried out for contraception failure, high – risk pregnancies, incest, severe mental challenges and for what a certain book I read referred to as genetically disabled fetus. I do think there is need to reduce discrimination against those experiencing unwanted pregnancies by allowing them to continue their lives.

Contador Harrison