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Around the world, many governments restrict women’s access to abortion, at times making pregnancy hazardous for women and giving rise to dangerous abortions by unqualified practitioners.
As of reports on the day I am writing this post, she is five months pregnant. She was raped by her stepfather, but not allowed an abortion. When she reached the hospital along with her mother for the first time at 21 weeks pregnancy, complaining of pain in the tummy, even her mother did not know that being pregnant could be a possibility.
I was shocked when I got to know that she is just a 10-year-old and does not even realize that in the coming weeks, she will have to take care of this child growing inside her. Yes, she was denied an abortion because she is declared healthy and that the baby is growing normally.
The laws in Paraguay state that if the mother is at life threatening risk, only then is a medical termination of pregnancy allowed. What the law fails to realize is that a 10-year-old is not physically capable of giving birth to a child – leave alone the psychological implications of a child-birth. Her body isn’t even ready for such a big change. Yes, she conceived but that was because she was raped and had reached puberty. At the age when she should be studying and playing with kids, imagine what she will have to go through to bring the baby into the world and face the struggles thereafter.
Abortion should be the right of a woman and if she is a girl like the ten-year old in question, then her parents or guardians can also act on her behalf. If a woman was raped, or there was an unwanted pregnancy, it should be her prerogative. Pregnancy should be a matter or choice rather than the lack of any choice. In such cases, where mothers are at risk, an abortion should be a right to exercise and not a restriction to be imposed.
Many countries around the world restrict abortion or safe medical termination of pregnancy. Whether it has got religious connotations or not, nothing can be more important than the life of a human being. In another case that happened in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar had a miscarriage when she was 17 weeks pregnant. Yet, she was denied an abortion and later passed away. The laws of the country again wanted to save the life of the new-born at the risk of the mother’s life and Savita lost her life.
Governments across the world should aim for a uniform law that allows a woman to be able to decide what she wants to do. This could include her right to term a pregnancy as well. Safe abortions will not lead to crime but instead, would help women choose what’s right for them. Safe medical procedures and legal abortions should exist and the health of the mother should be of priority. In my mind, this is a basic right that cannot be ignored by any government of the world.
We may debate that at 5 month pregnancy, a lot is at risk and of course our heart goes out to the life that’s breathing and will come to the world, but what about the 10-year old who may not even survive after her full term? Why is the Government not feeling any compassion for this little girl?
Top image via Shutterstock
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