Denying access to abortion has medical implications

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Is abortion murder or a woman’s choice?”
Oct. 16, 2007

To the editor:
The reasons behind a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy are multifaceted, and often stem from very complex social and situational factors.

For instance, many women in abusive relationships do not have full control over their reproductive health; some women do not have access to safe contraception and others are simply faced with a pregnancy they are not prepared to carry to term, which causes them great distress. I do not believe many women seek abortions as a method of birth control " an abortion is a significant medical procedure that carries certain risks and I believe it is a last resort, not a first choice.

A recent study showed that abortion rates do not differ significantly between countries where it is legal and countries where it is criminalized. This means women will seek out abortions whether they are legal or not, and if they do not have access to a trained medical provider or a clinic, they will resort to clandestine “back-alley” or self-induced abortions.

These women have a very high risk of complications such as infections, hemorrhaging, disability, sterilization and death. In fact, we know that countries where abortion is criminalized have much higher rates of maternal mortality due to dangerous abortions.

Although this is not an easy issue to discuss, it is important that we as a society address it and evaluate the grave implications of denying women access to safe abortions. We must further consider this issue in Canada, where although abortion is legal, abortions are not always easily accessible and may involve a significant wait time due to scarcity of trained providers and hospital resources.
"Sylvie Galindo
Medicine II
Coordinator, Medical Students for Choice

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