Illustration by Amber Williams
Whether you are a pro-lifer who believes that your values supersede everyone else’s, or you are a pro-choice feminist shoving anti-patriarchal opinions into the faces of your opponents, the fact is death due to back-alley abortions count as 13 percent of all maternal deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Based on a 2012 report by the medical journal The Lancet, the United States has the highest rate of abortions amongst developed countries. However these safe abortion procedures have an impact on women’s lives.
Being pro-choice does not mean we insist on abortions. It merely suggests women should have the right to choose without putting themselves in danger. Abortions have been around just as long as pregnancies. In a BBC article on the historical attitudes toward abortions, the New Testament regarded the loss of a fetus as a loss of property and not life.
The Guttmacher Institute on Reproductive Health states that an estimated 22 million women undergo unsafe abortions annually. 43,000 of those women end up dead due to the unsafe procedure, while another five million are either permanently disabled or infertile. This is a harsh reality for many of our sisters around the world.
In 2011, The Columbia Daily Tribune said the Columbia Planned Parenthood suspended abortion services due to their doctor’s military deployment, making the St. Louis Planned Parenthood the only one in Missouri.
However according to an article in the Tribune, the Columbia location was set to begin offering medication abortions only on Aug. 3.
This is very important – not because we want all women to abort their unborn fetuses, but because the “coat-hanger” jokes will become a real-life scenario with the path Missouri is on.
In a Guttmacher Institute report on teen pregnancies, there were 54,000 unintended teen pregnancies in 2010. In the state of Missouri, 54 out of 1,000 females were between the ages of 15 to 19. The institute also conducted a report stating that 51 percent of all abortions occur with women under 25.
Chapter 188 of the Missouri Revised Statutes added more restrictions to the already heart-wrenching ordeal of the procedure as of this summer. Mother Jones, a non-profit news outlet, referred to the additional laws as the “harshest abortion laws in the country.”
Abortions are not cheap or easy. Planned Parenthood’s website states the abortion pill can cost up to $800 while an in-clinic abortion procedure is around $1,500. Because of the new restrictions, insurance companies are no longer allowed to cover such procedures, leaving women to scramble for the money.
Another setback is Missouri forces patients to do biased-state-counseling and a mandatory delay of 72 hours. Many women travel long distances to get to the St. Louis region, and since they have to take two trips to the clinic they tend to be away from home for days.
On a lighter note for the pro-lifers, the Guttmacher Institute also said there has been a steady decline of the abortion rate – 21 percent since 2008 to be more precise. According to the same institute, Missouri accounts for 0.5 percent of all the abortions in the United States and out of the 97,700 women who became pregnant in 2011, only six percent aborted the fetus.
Even though abortion was officially legalized 42 years ago by the Supreme Court in the Roe vs. Wade case, there still seems to be a problem with the state legislators and their “war on women” agenda. By banning or restricting abortion, we are inevitably jeopardizing the lives of women. As the saying goes, if you do not want one, do not get one.