Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Self-managed Abortion Highlights Need to Decriminalize Abortion Worldwide
Rewire (Nov. 12, 2018): Self-managed Abortion Highlights Need to Decriminalize Abortion Worldwide, by Patty Skuster, Kinga Jelinska and Susan Yanow:
In a recent commentary published in Rewire News, Patty Skuster, Kinga Jelinska and Susan Yanow argue that decades-old abortion laws around the world fail to reflect the advent of the abortion pill which allows women to safely end pregnancies outside of a clinical setting. According to the Skuster, Jelinska and Yanow:
Abortion laws around the world fail to accommodate practice. Most of the world’s abortion laws are decades-old, reflecting the science of their time and legislators’ politics to control women’s bodies. For the most part, laws criminalize abortion overall but then carve out protections for certain clinicians, deemed adequately skilled to provide abortion legally at the time the law was written.
Currently all countries other than Canada and China criminalize abortion outside of the health system. The authors point out that criminalization of self-managed abortion should be prohibited from a harm reduction and a human rights perspective.
Laws change slowly, and abortion laws are no exception. As medical technology continues to develop and communities make use of these technologies, many abortion laws remain rooted in the power relations and medicalized technology at their time of their inception, criminalizing abortion provided with later-developed safe methods. Abortion pills provide a perfect example of a technology that has outpaced current legal restrictions—which may have been originally intended to promote health and safety, but now impede progress.