25% of all pregnancies worldwide ended in an induced abortion, according to the WHO
Figures presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), show that each year approximately 25 million dangerous abortions take place worldwide, 97% of these in developing countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa. However, Europe is no stranger to this scourge, and that is why the Irish government agreed to hold a referendum on whether to reform the country´s near total-ban on abortion.
The referendum scheduled for May, will ask citizens whether to repeal a constitutional amendment –known as the Eighth Amendment- that effectively bans terminations, even in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality.
The strict laws against abortion that the Republic of Ireland imposes, forces thousands of women and under age girls to practice procedures in illegal establishments, to take forbidden pills found on the Internet and even to travel abroad to interrupt pregnancy. All this because abortion in Ireland can only be practiced when a woman´s life is at risk.
According to the Statistics Health Department of the United Kingdom, in 2016, more than 3,200 women and under age girls, gave addresses from Ireland when they visited abortion clinics in Englandand Wales. That is why the National Women Council of Ireland (NWCI), shoutout the government's decision to hold the referendum, stressing that "every pregnant woman is different" and that women and girls in Ireland deserve dignity.
The Americas: Birth or punishment?
Abortion ban in the Americas is still a controversy conversation. While in the USA and Canada, the suspension of pregnancy can be done for economic reasons or by the request of woman, in some Latin America countries -both performing the procedure and submitting to it- can be punished with imprisonment.
In nations such as Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and El Salvador, abortion is completely forbidden. This last mentioned country may have one of the most severe abortion bans in the world. In El Salvador, suspending pregnancy or even having a miscarriage can be punished with up to 50 years in jail.
Venezuela and Paraguay are nations where abortion is only authorized when woman´s life can be proven at risk. In countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and recently Chile, the suspension of pregnancy is also allowed in cases of incest or rape.
In Mexico, since April 2007, terminations are decriminalized in Mexico City until 12 weeks of gestation. Since then other states have modified their penal codes, to support with legal benefits those willing to end pregnancy.
According to a report published last September by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, 45% of the abortions performed every year are considered dangerous, unsafe, and unregulated procedures. Another WHO´s data shows that 25% of all pregnancies ended in an induced abortion, furthermore, each year between 4.7% – 13.2% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion.
Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda