Abortion — And Why It Might Not Be So Bad After All

(also my first time blogging, so try not to be too hard)

Abortion has been a heavily debated topic for decades together. Many countries have anti-abortion laws, and consider abortion as a non bail-able criminal act, a matter of individual negligence and improper prenatal care. Yet other countries have allowed abortion in specific cases. The U.S., for example, had a very conservative approach towards abortion until recent history. The conservative approach was initially justified due to untrained and risk-taking abortionists, but later, safer methods were introduced. After almost 114 years from the ban in 1856, abortion was finally decriminalized in the USA in 1970, after the arrest of Dr. Leon Belous in 1967. It was even supported by the clergy in the Sexual Revolution of 1970. In India, it still remains a criminal act, requiring the Supreme Court’s permission and a whole load of petitioning and arguing, kinda like the euthanasia (mercy killing) cases. Today, we will be discussing on whether abortion is, to put it plainly, good or bad.

In El Salvador, a 19-year old rape survivor was sentenced to prison for 30 years because of her “failure to get proper prenatal care” due to which her baby was stillborn. We see the unjustifiable nature of the law in this case, where the rapists are left untouched while the brutalized victim is imprisoned on the grounds of insufficient motherliness and subsequent abortion. Women, who experience complications during pregnancies, sometimes even miscarriages, bear the brunt of this law. There have been cases of imprisonments for more than 40 years on the grounds of aggravated murder of such victims. The total ban on abortion violates women’s rights to life, health, privacy, due process and freedom from discrimination, violence and torture and other ill-treatment.

Yes, many people would easily misuse abortion if it was decriminalized in, say, India. Due, in part, to the rampant gender discrimination and high illiteracy rate, people will misuse abortion as a tool in female feticide. In most of the developing nations, women are still many steps behind men. In these nations, legalizing abortions could lead to cases (usually unreported ones) of forced abortions; it should be noted that forced abortion cases are also prevalent in the US, which is, by most standards, an advanced and developed nation. Just saying.

So why is abortion a good option? (Okay, maybe not a good option, but not a bad one, either. Let’s say it is a not-so-bad option.) Well, for starters, it helps more serious complications during pregnancies, saving the life of the mother and avoiding the mental trauma from having a stillborn or an unhealthy baby. (There I go with the extreme-end terms again. Let’s say a not-so-healthy baby. Someone has to make up terms for the not-here-nor-there situations soon. Seriously. Maybe that can be in my next blog.)

Abortion is considered to be pretty much a villain-ish act…except when it isn’t. It is a difficult (read: painful) measure of avoiding unwanted pregnancies. But it can also improve lives. Yes, I know, abortion is a way of killing a life, but in case of teen pregnancies (and adult pregnancies, too, but especially teen ones, because that’s where the need is felt most acutely), legalized abortion clears the way for a lot of those kids who are just not ready to have a child, and don’t want to go through the painful process of giving it up.

Abortion is a choice. And like most other choices, it can be misused, too. And like most other choices, it should be granted to the people. Not always can women wait for the Court’s permission, which, in a country like India, can take 20 years or more, too. I rest my case. (That seemed like a suitable ending since this one’s all on laws and sh…stuff.)

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