Reproductive Freedom: Uncuff Our Wombs
Women should have the right to be free to exercise their bodily autonomy and make their own decisions about their reproductive health.
International news outlets and social media have been buzzing with the recent passing of the abortion law in the state of Alabama, America which bans abortions. This law was passed by 25 male senators.
In my country Kenya, abortion is an extremely emotive issue and it is legal under certain circumstances, according to Article 26(4) of the Kenyan constitution under the right to life,
‘Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law’.
According to Marie Stopes; ‘abortion is a deliberate medical procedure that ends a pregnancy’. Seeking to procure an abortion is never an easy choice; and it is a result of; unplanned pregnancy, lack of sex education, not being ready to be a parent, lack of access to contraceptives and being raped. The consequence of banning safe abortions has women seeking unsafe abortions from untrained practitioners (back door options) which can lead to; severe bleeding, uterine perforation, tearing of the cervix, severe damage to the genitals and abdomen, blood poisoning, infertility and death.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “approximately 22 million unsafe abortions take place each year in the world. Unsafe abortions are also the third leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide with approximately 47,000 women dying from them; and lead to 5 million preventable disabilities”.
So what is Safe Abortion and what does it entail?
Safe abortions are performed by skilled medical practitioners, with the proper equipment and in sanitary facilities. WHO recommends three methods of safe abortions which can be done from up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, these are; Medical abortion (MA), Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and Dilatation and evacuation (D&E).
Safe abortion is a; human right and basic health care need, which should be accessible to all who can become pregnant. Therefore, it is essential for all governments to pass laws and policies on; access to affordable safe abortions, comprehensive sex education in schools and access to contraceptives for all. This is because whether or not draconian laws have been put in place to ban abortions women will still seek to procure them, safe or unsafe.
In a nutshell, let women make choices on their reproductive lives and health, legalising safe abortions will ensure that women seek safe help which will reduce the risks that come from seeking unsafe abortions.