The right to safe and legal abortion is a fundamental human right protected under numerous international and regional human rights treaties and national-level constitutions around the world. Human rights bodies have repeatedly condemned restrictive abortion laws as being incompatible with human rights norms. Today, 970 million women, representing 59% of women of reproductive age, live in countries that broadly allow abortion. However, while a majority of women live in countries where they can exercise their right to abortion, 41 percent of women still live under restrictive laws. The inability to access safe and legal abortion care impacts 700 million women of reproductive age. According to the World Health Organisation, 23,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year and tens of thousands more experience significant health complications. Legal restrictions on abortion do not result in fewer abortions, instead they compel women to risk their lives and health by seeking out unsafe abortion care. 90 million (5%) women of reproductive age live in countries that prohibit abortion altogether. 24 countries, some of which include, Andorra, Aruba, Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Laos and Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Madagascar, fall within this category. However, abortion bans are not only in place in global south countries, in Texas, this year a new legislation came into place to banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Known as SB 8, the new law represents the nation’s most restrictive ban on the procedure currently in effect. Notably, the law makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, which runs counter to public opinion. Many people don’t realise they are pregnant until after six weeks, the time frame is particularly problematic for those who are repeatedly victim of rape or abuse.
Women in these countries are in need of support to fight for the right over their bodies and reproductive systems. Centre for Reproductive Rights, is a global organisation of lawyers and advocates who’s mission is to use the power of the law to ensure reproductive rights as fundamental human rights, for the dignity, equality and well being of every person around the world. If you are able to make a contribution, click here to donate.
- Center for Reproductive Rights 2021
- World Health Organisation 2021
- KHN 2021
- Centre for Reproductive Rights 2021
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