An abortion is a surgical procedure that deliberately ends a pregnancy before an embryo or fetus is born.Those who support a woman’s right to choose an abortion argue that access to safe, legal abortions is a human right. And there are people who consider it a religious sin. Terminating a pregnancy is an ordinary decision that millions of people take every year. Regardless of whether abortion is legal or not, people still require regular access to abortion services.
In India, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971), pregnancy can be terminated before 20 weeks are complete. A woman can choose to end her pregnancy if there is a major threat to her life. A woman can also abort the pregnancy if it is found the child will be born with serious physical or mental disabilities. In the new rules under the Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act, 2021 the gestation period can be extended to 24 weeks if the woman is survivor of sexual assault or rape or is a minor.
In 1971, the groundbreaking court case known as Roe vs Wade was brought in front of the Supreme Court in the US. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Roe and abortion was legalized in every part of the United States. On 24th June, 2022 the Supreme Court overruled the Roe vs Wade decision and left it to states to make abortion laws and also made clear that abortion was no longer a constitutional right. But why are women being denied the right to abortion? It is now high time that we talk about abortion rights. We say life is about choices and decisions we make for ourselves, an abortion is also a choice. And when a woman chooses to have an abortion it is not because she does not have affection for that baby or that having an abortion is fun , it's because of unforeseen economic conditions, a job loss, health conditions, situations like these make it emotionally,physically and financially impossible to raise a child. And sometimes a woman is just not ready for pregnancy. But instead of supporting a woman through times like these, what is our world doing? Twenty six countries have completely banned abortion, they do not allow a woman to end her pregnancy even if she was raped or even if she is not financially stable to raise a child. A lot of the countries which do allow abortion are Latin American, where the catholic churches have immense influence. These catholic churches believe abortion is murder, the catechism of the catholic church states "Since the first century, the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable". Some anti-abortion activists say, the fetus feels the pain during an abortion but it is scientifically proven that a fetus only feels pain or any kind of sensation after around 26 weeks. Some also point out that abortion leads to depression ,when the fact is women who are denied abortion are more likely to be depressed. Keeping women from accessing an abortion does not mean they will stop needing one. Restricting and banning women for abortions do nothing to reduce the number of abortions, it only forces people to seek out unsafe abortions. Around thirty women die for every hundred thousand unsafe abortions. The question still remains , who gave the states the right to ban abortion? Why are women denied the right to their body ? There is only one victim in the abortion debate i.e. women.
~Ananya Yadav ( student of Journalism at University of Delhi )
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