01 Aug Abortion and Sexual Assault
Advocates of safe abortion rights maintain that no abortion is “more right” than another. A woman’s choice to end a pregnancy or to carry it to term should not be based on influences outside of a woman’s desire to be a mother. If a woman does not want to have a child, she shouldn’t be forced to have one. It’s a simple matter of freedom and choice. It is a woman’s right to have the freedom to choose whether or not she wants to have a child.
We can all agree that a pregnancy drastically changes the life of a person. The moment a woman becomes pregnant, her life is altered in so many ways. She takes on physical, psychological, and financial risks.
A pregnancy, by itself, has several effects on a woman’s body. Her capacity for work is reduced. Her body changes. A heavy financial burden is placed on her shoulders as she prepares for the expenses necessary to provide for a child, and deliver safely. When she goes into labor, she will experience great pain, and her life will be in danger. This is an endeavor that no one should be forced to undergo. No woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.
Women who are not prepared to have children, for any reason, whether it be physical, psychological, financial, or otherwise, should be permitted to end a pregnancy. Unfortunately, some countries still maintain laws that prevent access to this service.
A recent article from the New York Times highlights the injustice of forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. Hari Kumar reports that a ten-year-old Indian girl who was repeatedly raped by her father is now 20 weeks pregnant, and because of India’s restrictive abortion laws, she may be forced to carry the pregnancy to term.
An unwanted pregnancy, by itself, is traumatic enough. An unwanted pregnancy that came about as the result of rape is even more traumatic.
According to a doctor quoted in the article, “She is traumatized and not able to speak properly. She was not able to understand what was going on with her. She was subjected to sexual intercourse several times.”
This child’s future is forever compromised if she’s forced to carry this pregnancy to term. She has to stop her schooling. She has to be prematurely prepared for motherhood. Her life will be risked when she goes into labor, because, obviously, she’s too young to be a mother. Add that to the fact that she has to carry the knowledge that she’s pregnant with her rapist’s seed.
The laws that denies her the right to an abortion is nothing short of child abuse.
In a nutshell, there is a procedure that could end her pregnancy, that could help her recover from trauma, that could reduce her physical and psychological difficulties, that could free her of a burden she did not choose to carry. But she can’t undergo the procedure because of other people’s beliefs.
She’s going to be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, and be the mother of her victimizer’s child, at ten-years-old, because she happens to live in a country where other people get to decide what happens to her body.
This is the type of injustice women all over the world have to deal with. As long as there are illogical and inhumane restrictions on abortion procedures, even more will be made to suffer like this child.
It’s time to reconsider our views about abortion. It’s a necessary component in the fight for women’s rights. Until women are given the freedom to have full autonomy over their bodies, every pregnancy betrays the fact that women are not yet fully free.
Kumar, H. (2017, May). “Indian Girl, 10, Was Raped Repeatedly. Now She May Have to Give Birth.” The New York Times. Retrieved on: May 18, 2017.