Abortion is a woman’s choice


By Anjali Vijay Kumar Barjatya

Our body is one thing we can truly say is ours without hesitation. It is the temple that holds our soul. It is our safe place. The one thing we’re born with and the one thing we take with us when we die. So it goes without saying that any decisions pertaining to what we do with our own body are ours to make and any interference is unacceptable. Nobody has the right to tell another person what they can or cannot do with their own body. And yet, women are constantly told, advised, ordered and shamed into maintaining their body according to the whims of the religious, cultural and political authorities.

Abortion is a woman’s right. The choice to carry or not to carry a foetus in her womb for nine months should be every woman’s choice! It is something that should be between an woman and her doctor, and even then the decision should rest on her shoulders. Dedicating their body for nine months in which their hormones go haywire, their feet becomes swollen, their body aches as it expands to accommodate a foetus, is a choice every mother makes. Yet, the women who choose to be mothers and the women who choose abortion are not mutually exclusive. They’re the same women but just at different points in their lives.

But some groups who consider themselves ‘Pro-life’, have demonised abortion. The life of an unborn foetus is put before the life and rights of the women. Is aborting an unborn foetus murder? And what would you call forcing a woman to unwillingly carry a child and then having to raise it, without her consent? How is the former considered a crime but the latter is not? If an unborn foetus is granted legal rights then perhaps the same should be granted to sperm and eggs as well. They’re also alive and have the potential to become a living human. Such legalities are worthless as they have no basis in logical ground reality. Abortion is not Satan’s grand scheme to bring humanity down on its knees. It is a healthy procedure that allows a woman the freedom to choose motherhood when she is ready for it.

Religious beliefs are supposed to work as a moral compass for the people who put their faith in it. But when religion becomes a dictatorship, it degrades its own ethical standards. In 2013, Savita Halappanavar lost her life because an Irish hospital refused to terminate her pregnancy despite repeated requests from her and her husband to do so. Both the mother and her unborn child died because apparently since Ireland is a Christian country, even Hindu couples who are not Irish citizens are subject to the Christian dogmas. Is this the morality that is held above the life of a woman? Anti-abortion sentiments are at their core less pro-life and more sexist.

That there are laws which force women to be pregnant without their consent due to religious and ethical beliefs, is a severe violation of their human rights.