Engaging the Public; A Panacea to Abortion Restrictions

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Gauri Parvathy, a medical graduate from Tbilisi Medical University, Georgia. She 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.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), abortion is the termination of pregnancy before twenty weeks of gestation (3). Abortion can either be spontaneous or induced. Spontaneous abortion is a non-induced loss of pregnancy before twenty weeks of gestation, while induced abortion is a type of abortion done intentionally.

Recently, legalization and acceptance of abortion as a component of healthcare have become one persistently contentious issue. On the International day for Safe Abortion Day, a group of United Nations experts stressed that abortion is essential healthcare and should be a human right. Denying women access to abortion services jeopardizes their physical and mental health and removes their autonomy. It unjustly denies them the freedom to live with dignity and on equal terms with other human beings while exposing them to various forms of violence and oppression (1). Sadly, the restriction of abortion is still well engraved in government policy and reproductive laws despite the overwhelming and obvious health consequences. Politically, leaders in the different parts of the world keep denying women this right and freedom (1).

    Medical professionals have a role in this fight for rights. They must first acknowledge that the criminalization of abortion is inhumane and that abortion has denied women their fundamental human right to decide on family and their bodies. The restriction on abortion is a disadvantage to women. Consequently, it puts them in harm's way, especially in women with unwanted pregnancies. It brings about a lot of physical injuries, mental illnesses like depression, birth injuries, and worse things like birth and even death (1). Restriction of abortion does not decrease the rate of abortion in most countries. It pushes pregnant women to indulge in criminal and unsafe abortion; unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality (5). Medical professionals must publicly acknowledge these facts and make them known to society.

    The power of medical professionals to protect and expand abortion to be respected as a form of human right is in making awareness about the importance of abortion. They can do this both physically and on social media through different methods. Opinions given by medical professionals are usually well respected. They sometimes guide public opinion and government policies on health subjects. Politics is inclined towards public opinion as politicians always like to be on good terms with the public. For this reason, public awareness is essential. When the public majority acknowledges that the restriction of abortion does more harm than good, the public will demand a change, and politicians will fall in line.

Medical professionals can also support abortion by donating to abortion support funds and giving to abortion programs to create safe spaces for abortion patients. They can also support reproductive rights organizations that protect the right to sex, the right to be pregnant and have children, and the right to raise a family in a safe society. When medical professionals form an active part of these organizations, apart from the positive effect of the monetary support offered, it also helps to project the importance of reproductive rights and guide the publicity perception in that regard.

Medical professionals have always been a part of policy making in the health sector. Their involvement has significantly helped the progress of the fight against abortion restriction laws. Yet, so much more is left to be achieved. They have to be more involved in health policy making. There is a need for more input from medical professionals to remove these abortion restrictions and protect the reproductive right of women.

References

  1. https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2021/09/abortion-essential-healthcare-and-womens-health-must-be-prioritized-over
  2. https://www.who.int/health-topics/abortion
  3. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/what_is_abortion_according_to_who/article_em.htm
  4. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/blog/4-easy-ways-to-fight-for-abortion-rights
  5. https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/06/24/qa-access-abortion-human-right

About the author

Gauri Parvathy is a medical graduate from Tbilisi Medical University, Georgia. She is interested in the field of research. She enjoys writing articles and sharing her opinions on many topics with great enthusiasm. She possesses the spirit to take on various obstacles and explore uncharted territory. She is always eager to welcome fresh concepts and chances.

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