The International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion has written an open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of UN agencies, asking them to recognize September 28 as an official day in the UN calendar. Its significance? International Safe Abortion Day.
The International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion is ignoring the cruel paradox of such a thing as safe abortions.
It is a horrible thing that women have lost their lives during or as a result of an abortion procedure. In the open letter to Ki-moon, the authors cited an estimated 43,684 global deaths from “unsafe abortion(s)” in the year 2013, almost 15% of all maternal deaths. This is tragic and unacceptable.
But the problem of maternal deaths from unsafe abortions cannot be solved through finding different ways to make abortion “safer.” By its very nature, abortion kills a human being. Why are we surprised that an intrinsically violent act results in more violence? Does violence ever, of its own accord, bring about peace?
An article posted on News Ghana quotes Liz Maguire, current Global Reproductive Health and Rights Advisor.
Maguire says: “We cannot fulfil(l) our duty to respect, protect and fulfil(l) women’s sexual and reproductive rights until we end the needless deaths and suffering from unsafe abortion and ensure that abortion is safe, legal, accessible and affordable for all women and girls everywhere.”
In the United States alone, roughly 58 million children have been killed by the medical procedure of abortion. Internationally, since 1980, it is predicted that over 1.4 billion children are no longer with us due, once again, to abortion. These children did not die accidentally, as side effects or victims of a “safe procedure” gone awry. Their deaths were intentional. No stricter safety regulations would have saved them. They were the targets, their deaths the direct and end goal of the abortion procedure.
Abortion is never safe. By its very nature, it is not intended to be.
That is not to say that abortion facilities should not be more strictly regulated for the safety of women, as they are here to stay for now. But the United States Supreme Court seemed to disagree this past June, as they reversed in Whole Woman’s vs. Hellerstedt that a Texas law “requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requiring abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center – place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion…and therefore violate the Constitution.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America praised SCOTUS’s ruling in Whole Woman’s, saying that it “affirm(ed) the freedom and self-determination of women in this country.” NARAL also, ironically, signed the open letter that the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion wrote to the United Nations. Why do I say that that is ironic?
The intent of the regulations codified into Texas law was to reduce the deaths of women during or as a result of the abortion procedure. The requirement of abortion clinics in the state to have facilities comparable to an ambulatory surgical center were put in place because ambulances are called to abortion clinics after women have been harmed from the abortion procedure. In an amicus brief by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on behalf of Hellerstedt, they list thirty-seven documented incidents from 2011-2015 where an ambulance had been called “to transport an abortion patient from an abortion facility.” It is safe to assume that they are several more undocumented incidents as well.
If NARAL truly cared about “a woman’s right to a safe abortion,” as their signature on the open letter implicates, they would not be praising SCOTUS’s ruling in Whole Woman’s vs. Hellerstedt. They would be lamenting it.
So what should we do to “celebrate” International Safe Abortion Day? Reversing SCOTUS’s decision on Whole Woman’s vs. Hellerstedt would be a good start.
Reversing Roe wouldn’t hurt either.