JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Deaths from back street abortions have dropped by 91 percent in the decade since South Africa became one of the few African countries to legalize abortion, health care workers said.
No big surprise there, but it’s worth emphasizing that legal, accessible abortion saves women’s lives. Making abortion illegal kills and maims women, but does not stop abortion from happening.
Thirty thousand women die in Africa every year because of unsafe illegal abortions — and 4.2 million unsafe procedures are performed. Hundreds of thousands of women are injured. Naturally, the United States is pouring millions of dollars into funding anti-choice and abstinence-only “education” groups, which actively contribute to killing women around the world.
However, John Smyth, spokesman for the anti-abortion organization Doctors For Life, said a decade of abortion in South Africa was no cause for celebration. He said there was concern that the law was not being followed properly and pregnant women were not being thoroughly counseled.
“The abortion figures are horrifying and there are many wounded and hurting women who wish they hadn’t had an abortion,” he said.
Some women regret choosing abortion, and that’s unfortunate. But would outlawing it really help? I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say I’d rather be regretful than dead. And these same “pro-life” organizations oppose disseminating contraception, which would lessen the need for abortion in the first place.
In other international news, Mexico City is debating legalizing early abortion, and pro-lifers there are proving that American anti-choice politicians don’t have a monopoly on telling flat-out lies:
Jorge Serrano, president of the National Pro-Life Committee, argued that legalizing abortion would encourage more women to terminate their pregnancies.
“The more women who have abortions, the more women and babies will die,” Serrano said. “The risks will increase.”
Interesting, since that’s not actually true, and isn’t really true anywhere. Legal medical procedures, performed by professionals in hospitals or clinics with proper sanitation practices, are generally going to be safer than illegal procedures that are self-performed, or performed by people who might not know what they’re doing in less than sanitary conditions. But I suspect Serrano knows that, and, like most anti-choice leaders, simply doesn’t care if women are killed or maimed by illegal abortion, because that’ll teach them a lesson about thinking they own their own bodies.
Finally, in good news, the Portuguese parliament voted to legalize abortion during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The law still needs to be signed by the President, and he has 20 days to ratify it. Let’s hope he does.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has taken this moment to assert that Catholic politicians are “especially” obligated to oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and right-to-die legislation. So, while tens of thousands of women die of illegal abortions every year, while war rages around the world, and while people across the globe continue to die of starvation and disease, the Pope is here to remind you that the real problems are marrying someone you love and deciding when you have children.
- Legal Abortion Saves Lives by Jill September 24, 2007
- I guess women’s lives aren’t included in that whole “pro-life” thing by Jill October 13, 2007
- 90 African Women Die Every Day From Unsafe Abortions by Jill March 25, 2006
- Illegal Abortion in Nigeria by Jill April 9, 2007
- More Bad News for Repro Rights by Jill October 26, 2006