ACROSS THE WORLD, ABORTION IS REALLY COMMON.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 6 out of 10 unintended pregnancies and 3 in 10 of all pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. Lots of people choose to get abortions and it is a very common experience.
MAKING ABORTIONS ILLEGAL DOES NOT STOP PREGNANT PEOPLE FROM SEEKING AND HAVING THEM.
Pregnant people seek abortions even where it is difficult and/or illegal to access them. Amnesty International points out that abortion rates are 37 per 1000 people in countries where they are prohibited (for example illegal or only available in rare circumstances) and 34 per 1000 where abortions are broadly allowed by law. These rates are very similar, suggesting that making abortions illegal does not stop people from needing, seeking and having them. Criminalising abortion can however, make it more dangerous. The WHO lists unsafe abortion (e.g. where it is illegal and not available from a healthcare facility) as the leading cause of (preventable) maternal death.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PROCEDURES FOR AN ABORTION:
LEGAL ABORTIONS ARE VERY SAFE.
All types of healthcare and lots of the things we do everyday involve some sort of risk. People have pointed out that having a (legal) abortion is safer than giving birth, running a marathon, having your tonsils out or taking viagra.
PEOPLE OF MANY FAITHS CHOOSE TO HAVE ABORTIONS
We have already seen that abortion is common worldwide. We also know that people of many religious faiths choose to have abortions. Many people oppose abortion on religious and/or moral grounds. But having access to legal abortioncare does not take away an individual pregnant person’s right to decide if abortion is spiritually or ethically okay for them.
ABORTION IS ALLOWED IN THE UK UP TO 24 WEEKS OF DEVELOPMENT.
Having an abortion is sometimes equated to ‘killing a baby’. Up to 24 weeks of development, a foetus may have some features which can look human-like. But up to this point, a foetus cannot feel pain. These collections of tissue also do not function as organs in a fully developed human would – to the point where a foetus at this stage would not be able to sustain itself outside of the womb.
ACCESS TO ABORTIONCARE IS A SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE.
Criminalising abortion disproportionately affects people who have been socially marginalised – for example by reason of race or income. Access to good, safe and legal healthcare – including access to abortioncare – is needed by everyone who can get pregnant and is an important part of reproductive rights.
- Abortion Rights – organisation campaigning for access to safe, legal abortion in the UK.
- We Trust Women – Campaign from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service to decriminalise abortion in the UK.
- Planned Parenthood – US based organisation that provides and campaigns for reproductive rights.
- Women on Web – an online based, international abortion service.
- Centre for Reproductive Rights – (annual report) organisation that uses the law to advance reproductive rights around the world.
- FSHR-RCOG – abortion factsheet.
Many thanks for support and advice on producing this information from friends and colleagues, including Maria Lewandowska (Researcher in Reproductive and Sexual Health), M and L.