Thursday, October 22, 2009

Abortions, Family Planning & Respect for Women

An abortion isn’t a pretty thing. Not only does it take the life of the fetus, but all too often the mother dies as well. This is especially the case in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws, as recently reported by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute.

First the good news. The Guttmacher report shows that the number of abortions worldwide fell about 8.6% from 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003. The reason: more women are using contraception, which increased to 63% in 2003 from 54% in 1990. However, contraceptive use lags badly in Africa where it is used by only 28% of married women.

Now the bad news. Shockingly, the report estimated that almost half of the abortions in 2003 were unsafe, that is, self-induced, performed by unskilled people or done in unhygienic settings. About 70,000 women died and another 8 million suffered complications. Almost all of the unsafe abortions were performed in less-developed countries with restrictive abortion laws. The most restrictive laws are found in Africa and Latin America where birth rates are also the highest. The report concluded that legal restrictions do not stop abortions from happening, they just make the procedure much more dangerous. Is there a lesson here for the Vatican and far right Christians?

The future for the world and human society looks grim. The basic causes for our woes can be summarized as over-consumption by the wealthy and over-birthing by the poor.

How simple this sounds. Yet how difficult to find solutions. The Guttmacher report presents one step we can take. The report urges rich nations like the U.S. to sharply increase financial support to poor countries for family-planning programs. This would also save a lot of women from suffering. Africa needs our help and giving women respect and dignity is a good place to start.


Darshan Chande said...

Well, I am not actually against abortion as long as "killing fetus" is concerned. Human beings are killing many animals anyway for rather unacceptable purposes. So killing one human is rather meager issue for me. But yeah, precaution is much better than abortions.

And that said, abortion should be made legal. It's absurd to classify it as illegal. You can kill hen's fetus for making omelette, but killing human fetus is illegal? Just because it is "human"? Bullshit!!

Yazhu said...

Human population increasing rapidly. No body knows what exactly gonna happen in few years. Are we gonna packed in world soon or gradually our population going to decrease once all wealth are exploited like bacterial culture in a petridish.