What happens if abortion becomes illegal? Lessons from around the world.

Written by Nita Bhalla and Anastasia Moloney

Nairobi / Bogota, May 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Kenyan housewife Ann finds out she was pregnant in September last year, it becomes clear to her that there is no way to have children.

Over the years, the 27-year-old has been a victim of domestic violence: her husband regularly beat her, denied her money to feed their three children, and had sex with other women.

Ann – whose name has been changed to protect her children’s identities – did not want to bring another child into the world of violence and poverty, a close friend told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But in a country where access to abortion is strictly restricted by law and those who have the procedure are stigmatized, Ann was forced to secretly receive abortion pills from unlicensed pharmacists. A few days later, the girl died.

“I heard screams from her home in the middle of the night and saw her lying on the ground covered in blood,” said a friend of Ann’s, who also lives in Korogocho, an informal settlement in northeastern Nairobi, and who told her not to. Name

“We took him to the hospital, but there was a long queue and he died while we were waiting for treatment,” the friend added.

Proponents of abortion rights from Africa to Latin America are warning of potentially devastating repercussions for Wade, who has legalized abortion nationwide, as the US Supreme Court reverses the landmark row vs. Wade.

According to them, the impact of anti-abortion measures around the world should be considered mainly by conservative courts, whether it is the death of Anne in Kenya, the unjustly imprisoned woman for abortion in El Salvador or the persecution of abortion rights lawyers in Poland.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Showed her support for approval, which would legalize voluntary abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko / AP

“My message to the judges of the United States Supreme Court is: they will never stop abortions. Women have had abortions and they will always have abortions regardless of the law,” said Evelyn Oppondo, Africa’s senior regional director. Reproductive Rights Center (CRR).

Ms Opondo continued, “Any laws that are reversed will stop safe abortion.” “Women are more likely to have unsafe abortions, such as those performed by charlatans in secret clinics, and it is the poor and marginalized who will be most affected.”

Christian conservatives and many elected Republicans have long sought to overthrow Rowe. Wade, and many Republican-led states have imposed various abortion restrictions against the ruling in recent years.

Secret abortion

Globally, abortion is completely banned in 26 countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Egypt, Madagascar and the Philippines, according to the CRR.

Fifty other countries allow abortions only when a woman’s health is at risk or in case of rape or incest, the group says.

More than three-quarters of countries have legal penalties for abortion, including long prison terms or heavy fines for those who perform or assist in the process.

According to health experts, these restrictions make women and girls desperate to end their unwanted pregnancies, whether using clothes hangers, drinking water from bleach or visiting secret clinics run by untrained practitioners.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 25 million unsafe abortions occur worldwide each year, resulting in an estimated 39,000 deaths of women and girls, and millions more hospitalized due to complications.

The majority of these deaths are of concern to poor women living in low-income countries, with more than 60% in Africa and 30% in Asia, according to the WHO.

In Kenya – where abortion is allowed only when a woman’s health or life is in danger and in the case of rape – more than 2,500 women and girls die each year from unsafe abortions or seven deaths per day, according to the CRR.

A study by the Ministry of Health shows that nearly half a million abortions – most of them unsafe – took place in Kenya in 2012, with one in four women suffering from complications such as high fever, sepsis, shock and organ failure.

The study also found that women and girls spend an additional $ 5 million on Kenya’s public health system to treat complications for a miscarriage.

Nellie Muniasia, executive director of the Reproductive Health Network Kenya, said: “What we see here in Kenya is that if the verdict is overturned, they will be seen in the United States.”

Imprisoned for abortion

In El Salvador, where abortion has been a crime since 1998, dozens of women have been jailed for abortion, regardless of the circumstances – even rape, incest, abnormalities in the fetus or when a woman’s health is in danger.

In 2008, Cynthia Rodriguez was eight months pregnant when she went to the hospital for emergency treatment after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Instead, he was handcuffed in a hospital bed, arrested, convicted of serious murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“You’re mourning the loss of your child and then you’ve been accused of a crime you didn’t commit. It’s very emotional,” Rodriguez said, referring to him as a “child killer” and physically assaulted. Other prisoners.

He was released after serving almost 11 years.

Five other Latin American countries have laws banning abortion, but El Salvador stands for its conviction rate and harsher imprisonment.

AP22134678465509.jpgPublic artist Jacqueline von Adelbe holds a sign with other abortion rights protesters who took to the streets in Chicago on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Protesters are gathering across the country to face an expected Supreme Court ruling that could hurt women’s right to abortion. Photo: AP Photo / Matt Marton

In the last two decades, more than 180 women have been imprisoned for abortion-related crimes, according to the nonprofit Citizen Group for the Criminalization of Abortion.

“Abortion should not be criminalized,” Rodriguez said. “Every woman knows her own situation and the truth of what she has gone through. A

Activists say policies that prohibit or restrict access to abortion also force teenage girls to drop out of school at high rates due to unplanned pregnancies.

In some countries, such as Tanzania and Sierra Leone, pregnant girls and young mothers are prohibited from attending school.

Proponents of abortion rights say that these policies – which not only give rise to stigma and shame, but also harass and discriminate – can affect other people as well.

In many countries, sexual and reproductive health clinics and women’s rights defenders are targeted by far-right groups, individuals and even authorities.

In Poland, where abortion is permitted only for rape, incest and threats to a woman’s life, abortion rights defenders are also threatened, harassed and sentenced to up to three years in prison.

Marta Lampert, a 43-year-old lawyer and leader of the Strajk Kobiet (Women’s Strike) movement, which opposes a strict ban on abortion, said her protest against Poland’s abortion law was too costly.

“I had to leave my home because my address was published and I was the victim of an assassination attempt,” Lampert said.


(Reporting by Nita Valla in Nairobi @ Nitavalla and Anastasia Moloney in Bogota; Additional report by Joanna Gill in Brussels. Written by: Nita Valla; Edited by: Helen Popper. Please give credit to Thomson Reuters Foundation. Or strive to live fairly. (See http://news.trust.org)

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