Everyday women all over the world die from trying to terminate a pregnancy that they didn’t want. Worldwide the number of unsafe abortions per 1000 women has risen from 44 in 1995 to 49 in 2008 (Conley, 2012). Guttmacher Institute reported that in 2008 there were 43.8 million abortions that happened worldwide. Because abortion is illegal in many countries women have to find unsafe ways of getting rid of the pregnancy, even if countries did allow it, it was generally if the pregnancy was a risk to the woman’s health.
There are many reasons why women need abortions. Some become pregnant through rape, incest, or they could be married at a young age and not be ready for children. In some countries women that already have too many children cannot afford another pregnancy. A final reason for wanting to terminate a pregnancy is that either the child will die in birth or kill the mother during birth. Since many third world countries do not have the health budgets to provide women with family planning services or contraception, abortion is their only option yet many these same nations prohibit the practice.
Unsafe abortions are a worldwide problem. Legalization of abortions is a fairly new practice that only began in countries after World War II. Culture and religion have a large impact on the availability of abortion services. Some cultures and religions believe it is murder if the woman tries to abort; therefore, the woman tries to have the abortion in secret. In some countries if the woman gets pregnant before marriage even if raped, she is accused of dishonor and will likely never marry.
Unsafe abortions are detrimental to women’s health. The World Health Organization estimated that in developing countries 115,000- 204,000 women died from complications from illegal abortions for an average of 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions performed. Even if a woman survives the procedure, she may suffer health complications such as fistula or infertility. Not only are there physical side effects there are many mental side effects from abortions. Depression is a major issue. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be another mental illness that women can suffer from after the procedure.
Having safe and medically supervised abortions as an available option for women can help improve women’s health dramatically. Many countries are trying to provide modern day contraceptives such as condoms or birth control pills for prevention of pregnancy. Other countries offer safe and medically supervised clinics for abortions to be performed in. Contraceptives are not just used for prevention of pregnancy they are also important in the prevention of STD’s and AIDS. The good news is that there is a decline overall in abortion related deaths, because many countries such as Australia and Germany are legalizing abortions so women can get them in a safe way.
The first choice to help this issue would be for every country to provide safe and available contraception and maternal health services. However since this is not possible in many poor countries, then the only other option would be to have safe abortion services. It is better for the women to have the option rather than them doing harmful unsafe things to get rid of the pregnancy. The think that you can do to help this issue is to help make it known such as many organizations are trying to do. International Consortium for Medical Abortion is one of these organizations; they want to promote the availability of safe abortions worldwide. Women on Waves is another non-profit organization. They are an organization that wants to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions worldwide. These organizations are just a step into bettering women’s rights and improving their lives. You can find more options on this issue through these organizations and they offer also what you can do to help this issue.