It’s 2.33 a.m and I have been awake for the last two hours, this can be blamed on insomnia that has been plaguing me for days or the by, Senate Bill 8, which bans most abortions after about six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant — and authorizes citizens to enforce it. This to many is just another law enforced by 4 out of 5 votes but to most women, this is an attack of some sort.
I’m a 23-year-old Muslim woman and If there’s a certainty I hold dear, it’s that I’m pro-choice. I fully support planned parenthood to the core. Before you wave my religion in my face I’d like for you to remember that religion is for sinners and I’m one. You might not be aware but Islam accepts abortion/ termination of pregnancy before 120 days so….
In today’s world, laws on women and their reproductive health should cease to be a conversation that we still pontificate about. It should be a smooth sail, we should be able to access different forms of contraception, consultations with the OBGYN, and most importantly terminate pregnancies without a debate, but unfortunately, here we are.
Abortion should be legalized because in a country like Kenya(my motherland) we lose 137 women annually to unsafe abortions. Most of these women are between the ages of 16–35 the creme de la creme of the population if you ask me. Why not use contraception you ask? There are different forms of contraception in the market some are hormonal and non-hormonal. Contraceptions are not 100% safe and even if they were, not all of them favour our different bodies. Most of them come as a package including side effects like extremely painful cramps, heavy bleeding, migraines, skin breakouts and lower libidos among others.
This is why we need to have and hold conversations around vasectomy and abortion dearly. One man can impregnate 10 women: In the animal kingdom, this man would have undergone castration or even get a time out from other members of the society. So why shouldn’t the same penalty be put on men? Reversible vasectomy has worked for many including celebrity Justin Baldone what makes the average man special?
Penalizing abortion does not prevent it. In fact, people experiencing unwanted pregnancies seek access to abortion and post-abortion services even in highly punitive legal situations. The second is that abortion restrictions push them out of the national health system and into clandestine, unregulated settings. Many clandestine abortions are performed unsafely, leading to short- or long-term health problems, or even death.
A number of reasons form my basis for the legalization of abortion:
I’ll use this slogan by Marie Stopes International because it speaks to my argument. I recently was sent a job poster by a friend. She is the HR of a private hospital and was looking for a customer service expert. The first person who came to mind was my friend but unfortunately, she couldn’t take up the space why? She has a baby and the position required that she relocated to another city. Children are expensive. Parenting is an uphill task and for most women children curtail growth in many areas. As I discussed this with her, she blatantly pointed out that her daughter as loving as she is, is a constant hurdle in her professional and financial and growth. This is our reality as women, it is either or, noting in between.
An unplanned pregnancy causes anxiety, fear and in extreme cases can result in preeclampsia, if all these can be avoided by the right channels of termination then why isn’t abortion legal?
The mother comes first.
In my algebra class, I was taught that the first rule in solving an equation is by starting from the known to the unknown. I know that the mother’s life comes first. I know that if they are above 18 and are in any form of job then they contribute to the country's GDP and I also know that in whatever way they do pay taxes, then why do we prioritize the life of an unknown child over this known adult? Self-explanatory? I thought so.
In the 19the century with abortion still a crime it was found that the upper class had private rooms in their houses where abortion would be carried out. This does sound like a class issue to me because the common mwananchi or the 18-year-old girl living in Kibera Slums cannot afford a private doctor hence she will either visit a quack who will leave her bleeding to death or cause unknown internal damage that she’ll have to contend with for life. Legalize abortion and save lives.
The anti-abortion position emanates from a religious or moral point of view non of which should be sought when making and pushing for the implementation of laws. In all honesty, the Sheikh’s, the Archbishops or even the Pope’s feelings or opinion on abortion should not be put into consideration. This is a woman’s issue and at no point does it need men to police it. Legalize abortion for safe abortion is healthcare.
Abortion just like your breakfast tomorrow is a choice that is determined by a number of factors among them financial muscles and time. We could do brunch or sip water. Just like a woman or a couple can choose to carry to term or terminate depending on a number of factors that might or might not favour her i.e finances.
As José Miguel Vivanco wrote in his blog post Why Lawmakers should legalize abortion, the Criminalization of abortion entrenches inequalities. A woman’s resources, where she lives, even the medical facility where she routinely seeks care affect her ability to access abortion services. Vulnerable groups, including people living in poverty or in rural areas, and adolescents — are the most likely to be driven to clandestine, unsafe, abortions.
No international legal instrument explicitly references the right to have an abortion. However, authoritative interpretations of human rights treaties ratified by Argentina, including by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the UN Committee Against Torture and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, have long established that highly restrictive abortion laws violate the human rights of women and girls, including their rights to life, to health, and not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Forcing a woman or a girl to continue a pregnancy in cases such as when the fetus has serious complications incompatible with life outside of the womb or the pregnancy was the result of rape is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Criminalizing abortion can force pregnant persons to complete a pregnancy, imposing overwhelming burdens that is incompatible with respect for their human rights.- José Miguel Vivanco
Childbearing should not be the punishment of having sex.
At a certain age, most of us partake in different sexual activities because sex is a natural phenomenon created for pleasure. Can it result in conception yes but is this always the end goal? no! Unfortunately For most girls who conceive, childbearing is the punishment that society puts on them for participating in premarital sex. But should a 16-year-old be laden with the burden that is pregnancy just because she was curious? If so what sort of punishment should we infer on the boy? For he is responsible, isn’t he?.
Bodily autonomy make it acceptable for organ donation only when the patient before their death consents to this, if so why can’t we extend the same olive branch to women?
In 2015 alone, there were an estimated 21 million women around the world using a method of contraception provided by Marie Stopes International. In the same year, the services that it provided averted 6.3 million unintended pregnancies, 4 million unsafe abortions and 18,100 maternal deaths. Imagine if we had many centres distributed around Kenya that offer the same service? How many lives will we have saved?
I’ll reiterate what I wrote earlier, legalize abortion. Abortion should not be, a debate about religious beliefs, personal anecdotes, or ideological views and putting the laws in place does not enhance it for it is already happening so why not make it safe for all?