Women around the world have always faced sceptical views when it comes to the topic of abortion. Yet, the procedure continues to take place in countless unauthorised clinics - the majority of which are in third-world countries. About 97% of unsafe abortions and related deaths occur in some parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, all of which are developing nations. Such abortions are proving to be fatal for women, as many of them end up with internal bleeding, infections, uterine damage and many other complications of the sort.
In actuality, the widespread poverty throughout these underdeveloped countries, low awareness of the complications of abortion, and little contraceptive use have caused these insanely high maternal mortality rates. For example in South Asia, and Pakistan more specifically, there are numerous cases of young women passing away due to abortion-related complications. On the other hand, the country’s law states that a woman can undergo an abortion if doing so is necessary for her life or to provide “necessary treatment”, making thousands ineligible to receive one. Due to this, thousands of women rely on illegitimate clinics without authorised licences to carry out the procedure, posing a deadly threat to their lives.
In such societies, where abortions are seen as controversial to say the least, couples turn to underground clinics where the procedure is carried out at what seems to be a low cost, yet takes a toll on the helpless woman’s life forever.
However, the question remains: Why do they choose to undergo an abortion considering its risks? The reasons are numerous; whether they have “enough” children already or unstable financial conditions, leaving them with no other choice than to get an abortion.
The act of killing your unborn child is seen as cruel by some and the dangerous clash between religion and culture forces these women to resort to these illegal ways. Additionally, The Pakistan's lack of contraceptive use also accounts for the high abortion rate - only 34% of married women are estimated to be using contraceptives across the country - this low rate is due to the lack of education and taboo surrounding contraceptive use.
Across the globe in Africa, Nigeria faces the same issue with abortion procedures throughout the nation: 30-40% of annual maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions, along with a lack of emergency health services in rural areas. The laws imposed on abortion across the country are similar to the ones in Pakistan, stating that the procedure is allowed only if the mother’s health is at risk.
In light of the infographics collected by several organisations over the past few decades, tackling the issue at its core seems to be the only way to decrease the high rate of unsafe abortions and correlated deaths. Educating women in developing rural areas about the dangers of risky abortions, along with ending the taboo surrounding the topic, are a few steps forward in building a better future for women across the world. As well as this, promoting contraceptive use and introducing emergency health services across such countries would surely make a great impact on the betterment of countless female lives around the world.
Credit photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images
Written by Mahnoor Adnan