The Role of Advocacy in Abortion Rights

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Anthony Collins, a third year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica and the new Vice President of External Affairs of JAMSA Jamaica (a member of IFMSA). He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Abortion has been around for ages and has been very controversial in recent times for a variety of reasons ranging from religion to moral ethics. As such it has been outlawed in many countries but this has not stopped it from being done. In Jamaica for the 2015-2019 period, 29,800 of the 89,900 pregnancies ended in abortion. Some of those were “illegal” abortions and often results in complications such as haemorrhage, infertility and death. None of those should occur as women have a right to decide what to do with their bodies including termination of pregnancy regardless of the reason. Abortion is in fact healthcare and denying this right will only put women at a greater disadvantage in the healthcare system as their rights are not being respected. There is a role we all have in this fight for human rights.

Advocacy is a role we can play by representing the voices of the women who are in need and were denied the right to an abortion for their health. This is done by pressuring policymakers and government officials into making the necessary changes.

One method is campaigning to showcase the disastrous effect that the lack of safe options for abortions has done to women. A central theme capturing the plight of the women who are denied abortions will inspire all the news articles, interviews on the air and social media posts.  These will serve to inform and educate the public as well as inspire more people to join the cause to fight for their human rights.

Another method is petitioning, which includes collecting signatures to change the policy/policies they have established that prevent safe abortions in hospitals from being performed. The new policies to be implemented will be crafted by the experiences of the women who need abortions and those who were denied. This will serve to make abortions safer and reduce the potential complications.

Lastly, there is partnership building with groups who share the same ideals and have a greater influence on decision makers. This will serve to create a join effort as we all push towards a safer world where women’s rights are respected and programs/interventions can be created to manage abortions both in and out of healthcare facilities.

In summary, abortion is healthcare and no woman should be denied as it is her right to do anything she wants with her body. As such no policymaker should have a say in the matter.

References

Jamaica | Guttmacher Institute

About the author

Anthony Collins is a third year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica and the new Vice President of External Affairs of JAMSA Jamaica (a member of IFMSA). He served as the Administrative Director for SCORE and PRO for SCOME and SCOPE for 2021/22. He is very passionate about research, forensics and pathology and therefore volunteers his time gaining experience in those areas. He also volunteers to help those in need and the environment.

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