The earliest abortion dates back to 2700 B.C. According to Wikipedia,
98% of countries allow abortions to save the mother’s life, 72% for preserving physical health, 69% for preserving mental health, and 61% in case of rape, incest, and birth impairments. Here are a few predominant countries and their rules.
- Soviet Union
It was the first to legalize all abortions in 1920 under Lenin’s rule.
- European Countries
It is legal across the majority of the continent. San Marino voted to legalize abortions in the referendum as of 2021. The Women’s Union conducted a poll and 77% voted pro-abortion.
- Asian Countries
All abortions are legal for a 20-week gestation in India, China, and North Korea. South Korea has legalized it in 2021. It is legal in Japan, subject to several conditions. 10 out of the 47 Muslim countries allow abortion on request and 18 allow for medical complications.
- Western Countries
Following the Roe vs. Wade case, abortions are legal across the country for up to 24 weeks. The states have the constitutional power to alter this law. Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, and Texas abortion laws have been altered at present. Women can have a legal abortion until 6 weeks under the ‘Heartbeat Act’. Canada provides free abortions.
- Latin American
Christianity has a huge influence on the government of Latin America. Abortions are legal to an extent in Cuba, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico since the church believes life begins with conception.
Women can legally abort within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy since 1966.
Abortion Risks and Side Effects
The U.S. legalized abortions across the country in 1973 following the Roe vs. Wade case. Though states have the power to make exceptions or alter this law, abortion is legal up until 24 weeks. Here are a few common types of abortions and the risks involved:
Each pregnancy is divided into three. The first trimester lasts between one to thirteen weeks, the second trimester from eight to twenty-three weeks, and the third trimester from twenty-four until childbirth.
Abortion During the First Trimester
Prescription abortion pills like RU-486 are recommended for upto 5 weeks. These pills can abort within 49 days of menstruation. The women must go through a check-up post-abortion to ensure there are no remains of the embryo in the uterus.
Women who have unsafe abortions or without basic emergency facilities can acquire life-threatening infections. Cramping, spotting, heavy vaginal discharge or bleeding, itching, burning, headache, leg pain, and sleep troubles are the common abortion risks. The pill regime is a high-risk method for heavy smokers.
Suction curettage or visceral aspiration is used from week eight to thirteen. In this method, the cervix muscles are numbed using a spray and injection. Rods ranging from small to large sizes are used to stretch the uterus to remove fetal matter and wall lining using a curette (a narrow metal loop).
The abortion risks are incomplete abortion, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding or blood clots in the uterus, numbness drug complications, and damages cervix, pelvis, or uterus wall.
Abortion During the Second Trimester
Dilation and evacuation, the method of removal, and risks are the same as suction curettage. Instead of using rods, doctors will use sponges to widen the cervix creating a fake dilation. Additional anesthesia is used given the pain scale of dilation. Abortion risks are the same as the above.
Labor induction is performed during the later stage. The fetus will remain alive until a few minutes after delivery. A doctor will perform suction curettage post-delivery to remove any remaining delivery. Apart from the above-mentioned side effects, this is a high-risk procedure given the chances of stroke, hemorrhage, rupture wombs could complicate future pregnancies.
Abortion During the Third Trimester
An abortion at this stage is performed if childbirth could affect the chances of the mother’s survival or physical health.
Labor induction, the abortion risks, and methods are the same as the second trimester but the risk is comparatively high here.
C-section or cesarean is adopted if the mother is physically incapable of going through labor. The woman goes through a normal C-section and the risks involved are sepsis (infection), emboli (blood clots in the heart or brain), hemorrhage, UT infection, and all the risks mentioned above.
Abortions will happen regardless of it being legal or not. Women being the primary caretakers and providers for a child, have practiced abortions for so long in history. This status can change for the better or for the worse due to several ethical, moral, social, economic, or political reasons.