Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by removing the fetus from the mother’s womb which may be spontaneous or induced. Abortion is safe if it is conducted and carried out by trained and skilled health workers in a safe, clean environment and also confirms to medical standards such as the use of sterilized instruments, maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation within 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is considered safer in the early weeks of pregnancy; 5-7 weeks of pregnancy is safe to health as suggested by a health professional. As the fetus is growing day by day, abortion becomes riskier. Unsafe time for an abortion is when a woman is more than three months pregnant. Longer the time of being pregnant greater is the risk of abortion.
Nepal legalized abortion in 2002 in response to advocacy efforts that emphasized the high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality due to unsafe abortions. Abortion is legal at any gestational age if a medical practitioner declares that women’s mental or physical health is at risk or that the fetus is deformed. In cases of women who are younger than 16 or are not mentally competent, the consent of the woman’s nearest relative or immediate guardian is required. Due to the lack of awareness and proper guideline the serious consequences of unsafe abortion is increasing day by day. A woman may have an unwanted pregnancy and may be too young to bear and take care of the child. In such a situation proper knowledge and access to safer abortion can be a great help.
In Nepal, many women still continue to face barriers to obtaining safe and legal procedures for abortion. Many reasons including lack of awareness, lack of safe services, lack of transport to approved facilities, gender norms that hinder women’s decision-making autonomy, the often-prohibitive cost of the procedure and fear of abortion-related stigma are some of the causes behind unsafe abortion.
It is a human right to have full control over their bodies. And in the case of women as well, it is their personal choice about what to do with their bodies. Abortion being a key factor of issue, it is their personal choice. There are plenty of contraceptive options that they are free to use to avoid a pregnancy. If they don’t want to become pregnant, they have the freedom to take precautionary measures. We live in a society in which people have something called bodily autonomy: the right to make their own decisions regarding themselves and their bodies. Without bodily autonomy, people would live in a constant state of unhappiness because they’d be forced to make choices that would not ultimately benefit them. A woman who is forced to either keep her baby or have an abortion faces these same consequences. A woman has the right to make her own decisions regarding her body and pregnancy because she has the right to bodily autonomy.
Though abortion has been legalized and women are free to do it, our society still seeks for great interest if a young lady goes for abortion before marriage. She is still cursed, characterized and judged at the same time. Our patriarchal society does not accept the fact that it is okay to go for abortion if an unmarried woman wants to. It is hard for society to digest that the woman can also have the freedom of making choices.
However, we are the ones who need to realize that abortion is a woman’s right and it should be our choice about what we do to our body.
Image Source: http://bit.ly/2Bnm0hs