This article is not about being pro-life or pro-choice. It is a fact-based glimpse into the past and a look at current stats around the world.
Millions of abortions occur yearly worldwide. 55.7 million to be exact. They occur in every country, within every socio-economic class, at every reproductive age and for a variety of reasons. Those are facts.
An article from the prestigious medical journal, Lancet, reported that nearly half of the procedures worldwide are considered “unsafe.” Safety classifications were taken from World Health Organization criteria. Here is a snippet of the way WHO classified safety:
Basically, procedures performed by formally trained providers using up-to-date techniques were considered safe. Those performed by untrained providers using outdated or high-risk techniques were considered less and least- safe. The Lancet study also looked at things that could impact safety like cost and availability. One unsurprising correlation that was discovered was the following.
Countries with the highest rates of unsafe abortions also had the most restrictive laws.
Diving deeper into the causes and correlations between the legal climate and the safety of this procedure, the following was found.
“In the countries where abortion is legal and available, 87% of abortions were deemed safe. In countries where abortion is banned or only allowed to protect a woman’s health, only 25% of abortions were deemed safe.”http://time.com/4959412/unsafe-abortion/
Why is this important? It highlights the fact that legislation doesn’t necessarily impact decision making in this space. As long as people keep having sex, and especially while access to birth control has limitations, abortions will be a part of society. An estimated 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. And, for those who want to judge the reasons why people have abortions, remember that the unplanned pregnancy numbers include some who were on birth control (there is always a failure rate) and some who were abstinent or celibate (in the setting of sexual assault.)
Quoting a recent article in Time Magazine:
Making abortion illegal never meant abortion didn’t happen. For the entire century of criminalized abortion, women of every class, marital status, religion and race still obtained them. Before Roe, hospitals had entire wards for patients experiencing sepsis after shoddy or self-induced abortions. Chicago’s Cook County Hospital had 5,000 patients annually in the abortion ward — women who were bleeding, infected and sometimes dying.http://time.com/5589993/alabamac-abortion-law-history/
That really hit home because Chicago is my hometown. Can you imagine a WHOLE WARD dedicated to treating women whose lives and families were now at risk because a baby just was NOT an option?
I consider myself Pro-Health
I personally consider myself pro-life, however politically and professionally, I am pro-health. With the data telling us that women’s lives are more at risk when strict anti-abortion laws are in place, I can’t support those laws. I believe life is a gift and am a huge proponent of abstinence when appropriate, but I will not dictate what any woman can or cannot choose to do with her own body. Especially when the rules could lead to even more harm.
I’ll never forget the scene from the movie Dirty Dancing when Baby’s dad had to go to the cabins and treat the severely ill dancer who had a back-alley abortion and developed a life-threatening infection. If this political trajectory continues, history is bound to repeat itself.