Every now and then the abortion debate resurfaces in Mauritius: do we legalize it or not? As usual, all the religious groups are very vocal against it. Those in favor claim it’s the right of a woman to decide, … and those against claim that life is sacred, we are murderers if we are for legalization of abortion, it’s the child’s right and not that of the woman, … the usual stuff and most articles in the press sound like a cheap General Paper essay written in 45 mins in an exam room!
Hold on. What are we talking about: are we for or against abortion or for or against the legalization of abortion? No one in his right mind can be for abortion; for the killing of an innocent child! There is a subtle difference there: the debate is about legalization of abortion and not about abortion!
Am I for or against abortion? I am against abortion.
Am I for or against legalization of abortion? I am for legalization of abortion.
I’m not being incoherent here. Face the facts, abortion is illegal and yet it’s done everyday. According to some figures I got from the website of Pierre & Monique Dinan , in 2007, there were 1,635 complications following abortion. So there are at least 4 abortions per day in the best case (as these figures are only linked to complications following an abortion). How many more are done every day that does not lead complications? So whether we are for or against the legalization of abortion, we’d better face the facts. IT IS THERE!
Given that it is there anyway, why don’t we legalize it? According to the “general wisdom”, legalizing abortion will make women use abortion as a means of contraception. I don’t buy that! I think a condom or the pill is what people would use as contraception and not abortion as these are much more convenient and much less risky as there can be complications to abortion. The next option would be the morning-after pill which I’ve heard can be effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Moreover, a study by the World Health Organisation(WHO) showed that legalizing abortion does not increase the amount of abortions. Legalizing abortion only makes it safer and what really reduces abortion is providing better access to contraception.
Legalizing or not legalizing abortion does not prevent abortion; it only makes it safer for those who want it (anyway even it’s not legal, women “the so-called murders” according to those against legalization of abortion never get prosecuted for abortion in Mauritius while doctors “their accomplices” can be sometimes…). So unless we are happy that those women who had abortion are paying for their sins by suffering complications following it, we should accept that it is there and provide a safe way for these women. It is often rumored in Mauritius that the “rich” just take a 30 mins plane trip Reunion island (where abortion is legal), get their abortion there and come back safe and sound in the afternoon. I guess it’s true as abortion is not only for the poor and if you can do it safely you would but some real figures on that would be appreciated. So depending on how far this it true, this makes abortion in Mauritius a discrimination against the poor, who cannot afford to fly to Reunion island, which makes it worse.
As usual in Mauritius, we rarely take decisions based on facts but rather on emotions! So once and for all we should end this debate and legalize it. I’m not saying legalizing abortion till 8 months or something like that (you can’t decide after carrying a baby for 7 months that you suddenly don’t want it!) but find something that makes sense, get the right parameters and make it happen. We can then also provide protection and advice to women who are pressured into abortion and offer help or adoption services, …. (am I dreaming too much here???) Again I’m not saying you go to the hospital, say abort me and then you go home. Right procedures should be established and those “front” against abortion can try to convince these women to not abort – this is more work that just sitting behind a table and shouting no to abortion when the debate pops up but more like Mouvement d’Aide a la Maternite does, real work (I think they do right!).
Again decisions (as well as for who to vote) should not be taken not your heart but with your brains. I hope a real debate follows and people against the legalization of abortion finally come up with facts and figures why it is bad. I’m not in Mauritius anymore but what I read up to now is “No to abortion” with no real justifications apart from basically you’ll burn in hell, you have no heart, it’s murder, … all that will not stop abortion in Mauritius. Abortion is there to stay whether we legalize it or not! What should be our concern is whether legalizing it will make the situation worse (more abortions everyday) or better (more safe for women who will get it done anyway).
From all the evidence I have right now, I believe we should create a proper legislation and legalize abortion in Mauritius!