Abortion terminates a pregnancy before childbirth through medical expulsion or surgical removal. It has become a sensitive issue that needs attention across the world. The Soviet Union became the first country to legalize abortions in 1920. While a few countries (37% according to Wikipedia)have legalized abortions. There are still conditions that need to be met
- The fetus is below a certain age depending on the law. (Usually below 20 weeks.)
- The fetus was conceived due to rape, incest, or failed legal contraceptive measures.
- If carrying on the pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother.
- The fetus is diagnosed with incurable abnormalities.
The above four criteria differ from country to country based on their national laws.
Abortion Protest in Texas
On September 1st, 2021, the Texas constitution declared that aborting is illegal once the fetus develops a heartbeat as per the Texas Heartbeat Act. A fetus develops a heartbeat around 6 weeks. Gynecologists explain women who are trying to have a baby get checked after they miss their period for 4 weeks while unexpecting women are unaware until 6 weeks generally.
This poses a greater risk for women who do not actively track their periods or with PCOS and irregular menstruation. The law does not create exceptions for rape or incest-related pregnancies as well.
The Roe v Wade case allows abortions until three months. The Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia laws pose a 6-week ban, meaning any third party can sue a woman who has had an abortion after 6 weeks. The person could get legal fees and win $10,000 if they were to win the case under ‘aids and abets’.
Doctors who provide abortion facilities say that teenagers and low-income group women would need a lot of time to arrange a $550 abortion fee. This law only increases their burden. It will be impossible for them to arrange enough funds to travel to other states for an abortion. Statistics have highlighted that women of color are the most to have an abortion. Those who are undocumented would be unable to travel across borders for an abortion.
Why Should Abortions be Legalized?
One out of every four pregnancies is aborted every year. Here why legalizing abortion is necessary.
- The financial and medical needs of a child are a huge responsibility. Abortion could automatically result in lowered cases of infant mortality, child abuse, poverty, etc.
- Legal or not, several women choose to abort every day. Legalizing it would help these women do it safely. WHO has found that 25 million unsafe abortions are executed every year, especially in developing countries.
- An unsafe abortion could render the woman incapable of bearing a child in the future or increase maternal mortality rates.
- Criminalizing it also prevents trained healthcare professionals from providing basic care in case of a mishap. It is inhumane to restrict medical help.
- Individuals who don’t identify as CIS women with the capacity to reproduce are discriminated against when pregnant.
The ‘Heartbeat Act’ was enacted in May 2021. The abortion protest in Texas began during early September.
Is Legalizing Abortions Correct?
There are always two sides to a coin, let’s see why few anti-abortion activities don’t want to legalize it:
- It decreases sex out of marriage leading to reduced transmission of STDs and other diseases.
- It is considered to be murder once the fetus develops a heartbeat.
- The government should not legalize abortions as an easy pass for the lack of sex education.
- Underage or abortions not backed by medical conditions demean the value of life.
- Religious beliefs go against abortions.
Abortion Protests Across the World
The abortion protest in Texas is not the first of its kind. Many countries legalized abortions after several revolutionary protests carried out predominantly by feminists groups. The U.S. legalized abortion in 1973 following several pregnancies occurring out of wedlock during the Roe v. Wade case.
The ‘March for Life’ protest in Washington D.C. is the largest anti-abortion rally conducted since 1974 every year. While the Polish pro-choice abortion protest is considered to be the biggest pro-abortion protest to date.