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About Safe and Legal Abortion in Uncertain Times

The word abortion was recently made a global hot topic when the parliament of the world’s freest country voted to upturn the Roe Vs Wade verdict of 1973 where the US Supreme court judgment passed landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States conferred the right to have an abortion. The decision struck down many federal and state abortion laws and caused an ongoing abortion debate in the United States and by extension the world, about whether, or to what extent, abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, and what the role of moral and religious views in the political sphere.

The decision also shaped debate concerning which methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication.

Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022.

Jane Roe, was the fictional name of the plaintiff who instituted federal action against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas county, Texas, where Roe resided. Her real name was Norma McCorvey. She died in 2017.

  • Abortion is criminalized in many countries because of the attachment to religion, culture, and customs. In Nigeria, abortion is illegal and carries a jail term between 3 and 14 years imprisonment unless it is performed to save the life of a pregnant woman (this is a qualification that permits abortion on medical grounds). Few cases are brought to court on account of abortion.
  • The Criminal Code (CC) operating in Southern Nigeria and the Penal Code (PC) in the Northern part of Nigeria provides for the criminalization of Abortion.
  • Sections 228, 229, and 230 of the CC States:
  • Any woman who with intent to procure her own miscarriage unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing or any person who assists her in doing the same is liable to imprisonment for a period ranging from three to fourteen years.

However, On Friday, June 24th, 2022, the landmark judgment was overturned. This decision dismantled 50 years of legal protection and paved the way for individual states in the USA to curtail or outright ban abortion rights.

Women who have sought post-abortion care have shared experiences that foretell gross human right abuse continually, due to the criminality of abortion in Nigeria. These experiences range from rape, quackery, and extortion.

According to an estimate recorded in research done by the Guttmacher Institute, at least 456,000 deaths result from unsafe abortions performed in Nigeria every year.

Also, the report shows that 59% of women who seek abortion are married women who have experienced uncertain times. Indeed, uncertainty strongly affects how women feel about having children.

Raising awareness about the plight of women seeking post-abortion care raises many questions about privacy and bodily autonomy- Having the right to make an informed decision about one’s body.

Due to the numerous global uncertainties that are gradually becoming a norm, there is also a rise in fundamentalism and authoritarianism, both religious and political. There is also a supply chain instability in regard to medications and Sexual Reproductive Health products – manufacturing them, transporting them, purchasing them, accessing them, and the other numerous problems with using the mail for sending them.

And there are all the difficulties of having children in every one of these situations when housing, food, health care, maternity services, and protection and support for pregnant women and children, let alone access to contraception and abortion services, are absent or not ensured. Women are migrating in greater and greater numbers across the world, for example, often pregnant and/or with children, and having terrible problems.

So we need to say “protect women, protect abortion care” even in uncertain times” or “especially in uncertain times”.

‘Abortion in Uncertain Times’ is this year’s theme and aims not only to address things that are negative. At the same time, it is empowering, it raises the possibility of something we need and want, posing abortion in a positive way – that we must have access to safe abortion in uncertain times.

Does Abortion have a direct link to mental health as believed?

The Turnaway Study, a landmark analysis of abortion from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco, served to debunk the belief that people who get abortions experience deep regret, grief, or even posttraumatic stress disorder. Instead, the most commonly felt emotion is relief.

The impact of reversing Roe will take decades to undo. Still, the commitment of pro-choice advocates burns more fiercely than ever – and with people’s health, lives, and futures on the line, the fight for sexual and reproductive rights will not stop until everyone, everywhere, can access safe abortion care.

Having and raising children should be allowed to be a choice and not by chance.

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