Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty
Unfortunately, yesterday's story about Britain defying the United States by funding safe abortions provided by organizatins that have been cut off from US funding, has received little coverage.
The decision came in response to a report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation called, "Death and Denial: Unsafe Abortion and Poverty."
The report found that this year alone, 19 million women and girls will face the deadly consequences of unsafe abortions. Nearly 70,000 of these women and girls will die, and hundreds of thousands will be left with lifelong injuries as a result. Over 96 percent of these women live in the world's poorest nations.
Unsafe abortion is a cause and consequence of poverty; it is also intimately linked to gender inequality within societies. It is the inability of women, especially young women and girls, to fulfil their basic sexual and reproductive rights, and to have control over their own bodies, which forces upon them a stark choice - face social exclusion or risk their lives and health through unsafe abortion.The so-called 'pro-lifers' will never admit that restricting access to abortion does not make it go away; it only makes it unsafe.
We're spending more time than ever discussing Roe v. Wade; what we don't discuss is the fact that many women, married or unmarried, have no control over their sexual lives. Not only do they not have access to birth control, they lack control over their own bodies, just as they lack decision making power within their male dominated societies.
Then there's sexual assault. Almost 50 percent of sexual assaults worldwide are against adolescent girls of 15 years of age or below, according to the report.
They are powerless in relationships where older men control their lives. This not only puts them at risk of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, but it is also a significant factor fueling HIV infection rates amongst young women in many countries.There are 211 million global pregnancies annually; 87 million women become pregnant unintentionaly, with approximately 46 milion pregnancies ending in induced abortion. Of the 46 million women who choose to have an abortion each year, 78 percent are from developing countries and 22 percent are from developed countries.
Women choose to end their pregnancies for similar reasons:
*They don't want more children
*They're too young or can't afford to raise a child
*They want to complete their education
*They want to postpone childbearing
*Their relationship with their partner has ended or is unstable
*Childbearing would adversely affect their health
*The pregnancy was a result of rape or incest
*Social or religious beliefs make it impossible for unmarrid women to continue pregnancy
Anti-choice and anti-women policies from the United States, the Vatican and other conservative governments ensures that universal access to reproductive health services remains a distant hope for the majority of the world's poor women. The fact is, they will continue to die until the United States changes its position.
I'll highlight data from specific countries later today or tomorrow.