Every once in a while I get nostalgic for my debate days at UNAM and I’ll go through the posts on their facebook page. Yesterday as I was doing that I came across a proposed motion: This house believes that all girls above the age of 16 will be mandated to use birth control pills and other birth control methods as cautionary measure for rape, teenage pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies, as opposed to allowing abortion.’ This motion was proposed by a young woman who I can only I assume is anti-abortion for “morality” reasons, so instead she would rather have the powers that be dictate choices about reproductivity to young girls and women, there’s absolutely nothing immoral about that!
Headlines in the Namibian, today blazed a story on syndicates targeting pharmacies with false prescriptions of abortion pills. If there is one thing that makes my blood boil in this country, it is the prevailing attitudes and discussion around abortion. We keep on citing supposed moral “arguments” about keeping abortion illegal in our country, while at the same time, there is overwhelming reasons for making it legal.
Firstly, there is no contraceptive that is absolutely safe. Therefore, there will always be unwanted pregnancies. Looking at the number of young girls walking the streets with pregnant bellies, I always also wonder about the circumstances under which these young girls got pregnant in the first place. Did she really consent to having sex, or was she somehow coerced or cajoled into having sex. How much say do women really have when it comes to sex, condoms, contraception, etc? Realistically, can a young girl of, let’s say, 13/14 years, go to a clinic and ask for advice and assistance with contraceptive options? Somehow, I think not.
Looking at statistics dating back to 2003, I am informed that nearly 20 million abortions were estimated to be unsafe and that about 13% of pregnancy-related deaths have been attributed to complications of unsafe abortions. Almost all deaths and complications from unsafe abortions are preventable. The same source informs me that in places where abortion can be done legally and safely, the risk of death following complications of unsafe abortions have been reduced by several hundred times. Where is the morality in letting women die when there are relatively easy and absolutely safe ways to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
I cannot understand the arguments “protecting the fetus” when women are dying every day from the complications of back-street abortions. As long as abortion remains illegal in this country, we must expect that illegal and dangerous practices will flourish.