This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Mr. Abdul Moiz, a fourth-year medical student at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article belong strictly to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor that of The European Sting.
Simply put, “abortion” refers to a medical operation to terminate a pregnancy. Abortions are among the safest medical procedures that can be performed when performed by a trained medical professional in a hygienic environment; they are even safer than childbirth.
Each year, approximately 73 million induced abortions are performed worldwide. According to the WHO, three out of ten (29%) unintended pregnancies and six out of ten (61%) unintended pregnancies result in induced abortion, making it a crucial part of the health care of millions of women, girls, and other people of childbearing age.
Recent efforts to ban this direct practice, regardless of any consideration for a woman’s health and life, are a clear violation of human rights. Because no contraceptive technique is 100% successful or because of rape or incest, pregnancy can be induced and access to contraceptive information and services can be difficult. People are forced to turn to illegal and unsafe abortions when governments restrict access to safe procedures, especially those who cannot afford to fly or seek private treatment.
Unsafe abortions are responsible for 4.7-13.2% of maternal deaths each year. It is estimated that 30 women in developed countries die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions. This figure rises to 220 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions in growing regions. According to 2012 estimates, 7 million women in underdeveloped countries were treated in hospitals each year for the consequences of unsafe abortion.
What can we do?
Advocacy for safe abortion
- Use the crucial role of society in engaging with government and achieving advocacy goals within national SRHR networks.
- Work with healthcare professionals to improve their knowledge of legal requirements and standards (national and international) to provide safe, high-quality abortion treatment and the challenges of safe abortion care.
- Use the instruments of values, clarification and attitude change, as well as the publication and discussion of scientifically based data to combat the stigma associated with abortion among decision-makers and health care providers.
Talk to people and listen to other people’s stories.
Use storytelling, community organizing, leadership training, and political lobbying to change public perceptions about abortion and build support for young people’s access to the procedure.
Stay connected with social movements.
Increase young people’s access to abortion services, participate in community voices on abortion, organize public education campaigns and collaborate with campus and local authorities.
Support companies in strengthening their organizational frameworks to achieve their goals more successfully; areas covered include office administration and human resources, leadership and governance, project and financial management, advocacy and communications, and collaborations and persuasion.
Volunteer or donate to a global organization.
About the Author
Abdul Moiz is a fourth year medical student at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College of Bangladesh in Dhaka. He works tirelessly in his NMO BMSS-Bangladesh to make an impact and is a proud member of IFMSA. He is very enthusiastic and competitive. His participation in prestigious conferences and webinars has been significant. He never wrote for The Sting.