In most parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, abortion is illegal. In the most extreme cases, it is only permitted if the pregnancy is a threath to the woman’s life, in others when it’s a threat to her physical or mental health – in some countries this includes rape, in some it doesn’t. Contraception isn’t always effective, or at times not even an option for women here. Their religions, or husbands, might not allow it. It might not even be available to purchase. Even though many pro-lifers believe that the ones seeking abortions are young “irresponsible” women, fact is that most of them are married with children.
I could argue that I don’t believe that a fetus should have more rights than the woman who is carrying it, because I don’t. But when it comes down to it, right now, it’s beside the point. Whether it’s legal or not, women will find ways to get abortions when they find it necessary. And too often necessity wins over safety. One hundred women die every year in Argentina alone, as a result of clandestine abortions. Five thousand women die every year in Latin America and the Caribbean, and another eight thousand are hospitalized because of complications (such as incomplete abortions, hemorrhaging, infections and internal bleeding). Women with money, however, do have the means to get a safe abortion done in all secrecy at a private clinic – even in countries with the strictest laws against abortion.
Women dying because abortions are illegal is the primary cause of maternal death in most of these countries. How can we stand silent while these women are risking their lives because they have no other choice? Why are we forcing them to go through with a procedure that is psychologically painful, and to that add the physical pain and suffering that might cost them their lives? Why are we letting 47 000 women all over the world die every year, when their lives could so easily have been spared?
Yes, if I wasn’t clear I am 100 % pro-choice. But I still think that my young, brave cousin in Argentina said it best:
Being in favor of the decriminalization of abortion, is to be in favor of life.