When the Right to Choose is Taken Away

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In the heated rhetoric that usually accompanies discussions about abortion, it’s important to remember what happens when the right to choose is taken away from women. Women who can’t take care of a child will find a way to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, even if it means endangering their own lives. Until women are able to control the conditions in which they live (poverty, lack of political, social and economic power) – and thereby prevent the situations that lead to unwanted pregnancies (rape, incest, coercion, ignorance about or inability to obtain contraceptives) – there will be abortions. A recent article in the New York Times brings this point home quite clearly:

Worldwide, there are 19 million unsafe abortions a year, and they kill 70,000 women (accounting for 13 percent of maternal deaths), mostly in poor countries like Tanzania where abortion is illegal, according to the World Health Organization. More than two million women a year suffer serious complications. According to Unicef, unsafe abortions cause 4 percent of deaths among pregnant women in Africa, 6 percent in Asia and 12 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The full NYT article is here.

In the aftermath of Dr. Tiller’s murder, it’s important to remember that what he did during his lifetime was help keep legal abortions safe.

-Nancy Kim

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