Politics, News

From Texas to Ireland, we’re missing the point on abortion rights

Even in what seem to be "socially progressive" communities, pro-life advocates have the upper hand in abortion rights.

Abortion across continues to be a controversial topic around the world, creating barriers of division between pro-life and pro-choice advocates. Even in what seem to be “socially progressive” communities, pro-life advocates have the upper hand in abortion rights.

Ireland recently legalized gay marriage, but still considers abortion a crime, even in cases of rape or incest. VICE news reported that women in Ireland who wish to abort their child have to fly to the U.K. to legally engage in early induction. The eighth amendment of the Irish constitution gives the life of an “unborn” child equal status to the “right to life of the mother,” criminalizing termination even in cases of fatal fetal impairment.

With such strict restrictions on abortion, women are forced to deal with consequences that may be fatal to their health. Ireland is one step backward in terms of social reforms for women and should take a note from the U.S., in which most states allow abortion when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy.

But the U.S., too, is behind on making abortion legal in all states. 43 states still prohibit abortions under certain circumstances. Texas just announced a new ruling in the federal appeals court that could shut down most of Texas’ abortion clinics, leaving only seven open in one of the largest states in America. The ruling says all abortion clinics must abide by the same surgical standards and that doctors performing abortions must obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic. According to Texas lawmakers, these provisions were intended to “improve safety.” But do they improve patient safety? They’re intended solely to restrict access to abortion, which make it increasingly difficult for rural women to access proper healthcare to perform abortions.

Women who are unable to receive proper healthcare may be forced to resort to non-Planned Parenthood measures, and face the consequences of health risks and legal charges. Georgia native Kenlissia Jones was dropped a murder charge after attempting to end her pregnancy without a prescription, using pills she bought online. She still faces a misdemeanor charge of possessing Cytotec without a prescription. Cytotec kills the fetus, and then misoprostol induces the labor that expels it. Misoprostol is commonly used in countries overseas such as India and China.

What we need to realize is that our government is doing the complete opposite of helping women in need of an abortion. By creating so many restrictions, our government is adding to the problem and creating difficulties for women dealing with the potential loss of their unborn child. In Jones’ case, she was depicted as a murderer for taking pills for induced labor, which was a completely ignorant and absurd charge made against her. The law should not marginalize women who do not have proper access to abortion clinics, nor should it label women as “murderers.”

Abortion is an extremely personal issue between the mother and the unborn child and each case should be treated with respect and integrity for the woman, as it is ultimately her choice to do whatever she wants with her body.