Women have a right to make sexual and reproductive decisions over their own bodies as there are various methods of abortion available, depending on the gestational age of the pregnancy, the country you live in, and the method that she could feel most comfortable with. The right to procure a safe abortion is not only recognized, but also protected by various international human rights treaties.
Even so, in a world where about 40% of women live in countries that continue to subject women to restrictive abortion laws, not every woman is in a position to exercise this most critical of fundamental human rights.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 23,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions while tens of thousands suffer a myriad of health complications resulting from unsafe abortions. So how should stakeholders respond to this crisis?
Certainly, the issue of abortion is a complex matter requiring equally complex responses from both governmental and non-governmental entities. Even so, it will be acknowledged that one of the most urgent ways to address the issue of unsafe abortions is simply to begin from the basics. Put differently, the fight to make safe abortions accessible has to be supplemented by a very crucial component: safe abortion information.
The impact of COVID-19 has also limited women’s access to unbiased abortions information and in such cases, women seek the best advice without in-person help, so how these things could be possible if someone not come forward and discusses the correct sources and here also the need of safe abortion information required.
What, exactly, does safe abortion information entail?
Put simply,it provides the most accurate and up-to-date details regarding the entire process of procuring safe abortions. This entails the provision of information that is easily accessible, reliable, fact-checked, and specifically developed to provide the most relevant particulars in order to enable women to make their own choices about their bodies. Organizations such as safe2choose.org offer safe abortion information that is easily accessible, reliable and fact-checked.
It also provides guidance regarding the concept of abortion, the type of people who typically undergo abortion, the various choices open to a person who is considering having an abortion, the anticipated effects of abortion, the safe places from which a person can procure an abortion, and the ways in which one can seek abortion after-care services.
Why, then, is safe abortion information a critical component of safe abortion services?
Safe Abortion Information Demystifies Abortion
It is a deeply divisive topic. Any time conversations are held regarding abortion, opinion quickly becomes divided because of how contentious the subject matter is. Providing safe abortion information offers a unique opportunity to cut through the noise and offer information in a manner that is neither controversial nor charged.
This leaves people informed and empowered. Providing access to safe abortion information is also likely to clarify exactly what abortion entails. Making this issue clear reduces the extent to which girls and women can be at the risk of undergoing unsafe abortions and suffering serious health complications.
It also battles propaganda against abortion and allows women to exercise agency over their bodies from a point of knowledge. Finally, it allows more people to understand it, therefore recruiting more allies into the struggle to protect the sexual and reproductive rights of girls and women.
It Gives Women Autonomy Over their Bodies
Exercising autonomy over one’s life means that one understands the choices that are before one. When women have access to safe abortion information, they will be able to know the options that they have when it comes to making critical decisions about their reproductive health.
It does not necessarily encourage women to procure abortions; instead, it outlines all the options that are before women so that they can not only make the choices that they actually want but also make choices that are best suited to their unique circumstances.
Access to it also empowers women to take control over other facets of their lives. In a report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) titled ‘My Body is My Own,’ nearly half of the women who were interviewed in a study across 60 countries lack the power to make decisions about their healthcare. This restriction of a woman’s autonomy and agency typically leads to reinforcement of inequalities and a perpetuation of gender violence.
It Reduces Health Complications/Maternal Deaths
The WHO estimates that about 8% of the maternal deaths that occur worldwide are due to complications resulting from unsafe abortions. In places where abortion is either illegal or highly restricted, safe abortion information is also likely to be inaccessible.
Under these circumstances, girls and women who procure abortions will be unable to know whether or not the procedures they are undergoing are safe.
Lack of safe abortion information will also mean that girls and women are unable to know what to look out for in order to protect themselves. They may also fall prey to unqualified abortion providers, thus further increasing their health risks and other side effects.
Ultimately, efforts at countering the denial, violation, infringement, or threatening of women’s right to procure safe abortions should begin by considering how best to make safe abortion information accessible.
There are many myths about abortion and unless serious complications, there is no risk to the overall health but not having correct information lead to misinformation. A woman who has information is more likely to be empowered to use that information in a manner that suits her.
A woman also has the right to plan her life without having to consider that it could be disturbed by pregnancy in early age and in an unwanted scenario. She could dream bigger dreams and would invest in her education if she has all the related piece of information available. Indeed, if the information is power, safe abortion information certainly gives the power back to women.