Monday, June 20, 2016

Illegal Abortions are killing women: Aid Restrictions are making it worse

hen I was being interviewed to get my medical registration to practise as a doctor in Botswana, I was surprised to be given a stern warning: “There are only three circumstances when a patient may have an abortion: in cases of rape or incest, where there is a risk of life to the mother, or foetal abnormality, but only before 16 weeks.” I found it revealing that out of all the possible medical issues in Botswana, this was the one thing that was highlighted.
Botswana has restrictive abortion laws, but compared with many other countries they are pretty liberal. In many parts of the world, abortions are only allowed in extreme circumstances, if at all, and practicalities – for example, needing two police reports as proof of rape – often prove insurmountable barriers at the very time a woman needs the most sympathy and practical help.
In developing countries, the maternal mortality rate is a staggering 239 per 100,000 women, with an estimated 303,000 women dying in 2015. One in 10 of all maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions; an estimated 20m unsafe abortions are performed every year.

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