American abortion laws have been prominent in the news recently, and for all the wrong reasons.

Thanks to right-wing, ultra-conservative extremist-Christian leadership in Alabama, the state (with all legislative voters being men, with a single exception) unanimously approved legislation in May 2019 to ban almost all abortions except in cases where the mother’s life is directly endangered by the pregnancy. This is sheer lunacy from a medical and ultimately moral viewpoint. Lack of abortion access for women is not going to prevent abortion, but simply prevent safe abortions in the state, putting those women least able to afford to go interstate for the procedure in an unconscionable position.

Why is Abortion Access so Important?

In a majority of progressive Western nations, abortion is, quite rightly, viewed as a woman’s right – in terms of physical health as well as psychological wellbeing, and a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices is critical in a modern, secular society in which men and women have equal rights. In the absence of safe, medically-provided, and dignified access to abortion without judgement, abortion itself will not stop. Instead, we will see a return to the tragic days of the past where “back-alley” abortions are sought, putting women’s lives at risk.

Abortion Around the World

According to the Centre for Reproductive Rights, countries across the world are liberalising abortion laws as a whole. In 1994, 179 world governments signed the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action as a commitment to prevent unsafe abortion practices. The majority of Global North, Central, and East Asian nations have liberal abortion laws (notable exceptions are Malta, North Korea, and Poland), whereas the Global South generally has very restrictive laws (with exceptions being Uruguay, Cambodia, Vietnam, Zambia and South Africa). Western Europe is home to the world’s most permissive abortion laws. Currently, sixty-three nations and territories permit abortion; Canada is the only nation in the west to approve elective abortion at any point in a pregnancy.

Abortion in the USA

Some US states provide access to abortion with conditions, with the most permissive states including but not limited to California, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and New York.

Appallingly, abortion laws in some Middle-Eastern, Muslim-majority countries are actually more lenient than those currently upheld in some US states. Thanks to conservative, predominantly male, Evangelical-Christian lawmakers in some US states, abortion is now more lawful in countries such as Algeria and Saudi Arabia than in some US states – which is a tragedy for the women in these states, especially those who can least afford to bear children. Alabama’s abortion law is uncannily similar to that in Bangladesh, a third-world nation.

Alabama is not the only US state to have archaic abortion laws:

  • A Missouri Bill prevents women from seeking abortion from the eighth week of pregnancy.
  • In Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, and Mississippi, abortion is banned from the time a foetal heartbeat can be detected (from six weeks, before a woman is often aware she’s pregnant).
  • Sixteen other states are currently seeking significantly tightened abortion laws.

Most Americans disapprove of the Alabama abortion ban – even some Republicans are against it – and many of those who do not generally support abortion, do believe that cases such as rape and incest are cause for exceptions to the rule.

Relating to these archaic American abortion laws, it’s important to note:

  • Alabama’s Abortion Law is anything but Pro-Life – it won’t stop abortion but will stop safe access to abortion. Women will die or potentially lose their ability to become pregnant or bear children in the future.  And to be “pro-life” in a state that supports the death penalty is ironic at best.
  • Forced Reproduction is Abuse as defined by the United Nations. According to the UN, worldwide, only 52% of women in a sexual relationship are free to make their own reproductive, contraceptive, health care and sexual relations decisions. Men who control or coerce a woman to become pregnant or prevent her from making her own reproductive decision are, by definition, committing abuse against that woman. Alabama’s law (and that of other similar states) represents legalised abuse of women. This is a disgrace.

Abortion in Australia

There are currently eighty-thousand abortions performed annually in Australia. While our legislation is not perfect (and having a very conservative, right-wing government is not ideal when it comes to progressive abortion law), we are incredibly fortunate to have access to safe abortion services throughout Australia thanks to private clinics such as Gynaecology Centres Australia.

Contact Gynaecology Centres Australia

Gynaecology Centres Australia is a professional, confidential provider of first-trimester abortion services and other women’s health services, as well as vasectomy services. For advice relating to our abortion services and our clinic locations, please contact us. Find a clinic location near you via our Contact Us page on the website.