10 Nov Pregnancy Can Kill
Let’s pretend that you have a dangerous physical condition that has the following symptoms: bleeding, severe nausea and vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain, visual disturbances, swelling, and flu-like symptoms.
Now, imagine a scenario where another person, or an organization, actively prevents you from undergoing the treatment you need in order to cure these symptoms. Would you be okay with that? Would you be fine with the cure and remedy to your illness be deprived from you?
If it’s not obvious yet, those symptoms are complications that can occur in a pregnancy.
A pregnant woman’s life is at risk, and the choice to deliver a child puts a woman in more risk. It’s not fair for anyone to decide for you what risks you can and can’t take. That is why no one should be forced to give birth.
The same sentiments are better expressed by Jessica Valenti in her article for The Guardian.
In the article, Valenti shares that the United States has the highest mortality rate in the industrialized world. Valenti reports, “women in the US are more than three times as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than Canadian women, and six times as likely to die as Scandinavian women.”
Think of it this way. If the United States of America, a first-world nation with more advanced medical equipment than our country could dream of, is having issues regarding the mortality rate of pregnant women, what kind of situation do we find ourselves in?
The current maternal mortality rate in the Philippines is currently at 114 deaths/100,000 live births. These are the most recent estimates from 2015.
The causes of maternal death can’t be pinpointed to one particular complication.
A systematic study done by the World Health Organization on the global causes of maternal deaths has revealed that the top three main causes of death are hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, and sepsis.
It simply can’t be denied that a pregnant woman risks her own life by deciding on a pregnancy, and this choice, the choice to risk her own life, should be made by no one else, but the pregnant woman.
That is why, in the same article from The Guardian, Valenti asks a very important question, “Given this reality, given the risk associated with being pregnant and childbirth – how can we possibly expect women to take it on involuntarily?”
In other words, the current policies in place, policies that prevent safe and legal abortion are essentially asking women to risk their lives involuntarily.
But not every pregnancy is free from complications. Not every pregnant woman is pregnant by choice. And not every woman is physically, financially, or emotionally prepared for a pregnancy.
Why then do we deprive women of a choice in this matter?
Valenti shares her own personal experience of the dangers of maternity. She says, “Though people have assumed that having a baby so early and so small – born at 28 weeks and 2 lbs. – changed my mind or made me less sure about abortion rights, the truth is that it made me more pro-choice than ever. Having a child is not all glowing skin and beautiful round bellies – it is pain, blood and risk. It is not for the faint of heart and it should never be something forced on women and girls.”
The message is clear and simple. Pregnancy comes with health risks: death included. Therefore, no one should be forced to undergo one. Laws that limit our options on the matter violate freedoms and threaten lives.
For more resources on abortion please visit: EnGendeRight’s Policy Briefs and Fact Sheets
Valenti, J. (2017, August). “Pregnancy can kill. No one should be forced to give birth against their will.” Retrieved on: November 4, 2017.
Various Authors (2017, June). “Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis.” Retrieved on: November 4, 2017.