Women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions is restricted in law or in practice in most countries in the world. In fact, even where abortion is permitted by law, women often have severely limited access to safe abortion services because of lack of proper regulation, health services, or political will.
Abortion is a highly emotional subject and one that excites deeply held opinions. However, equitable access to safe abortion services is first and foremost a human right. Where abortion is safe and legal, no one is forced to have one. Where abortion is illegal and unsafe, women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or suffer serious health consequences and even death. Approximately 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide are attributable to unsafe abortion—between 68,000 and 78,000 deaths annually.
“In some states, politicians are pushing through laws that ban most abortions. In others, they are doing everything they can to shut down the health centers that many women rely on for basic reproductive health services, including abortion care. Some politicians are even trying to end programs that provide birth control, putting women at high risk for unplanned pregnancy.”
Free Abortion is Every Woman's Right: Statement of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union
Abortion is every woman’s right, may she be rich or poor, married or unmarried; and it is a decision which she alone can make, especially in this society where the responsibility for childrearing in the vast majority of cases falls directly upon the individual mother. If a married woman does not want children, she is considered anywhere from cold and unfeminine to desperately in need of psychiatric help. If she indicates she wants an abortion, doctors and social workers will try to help her adjust to her pregnancy. They think of pregnant women as “expectant mothers.” Just as the married woman is glorified as a wife and a mother, the unmarried women is glamorized as a sex object. She is taught that she achieves identity and fulfillment by pleasing and catching a man. Our society views pregnancy as a punishment for “immoral” or “careless” sexual activity of the unmarried woman. Society sets the trap and then condemns the pregnant woman for failing into it. It forces her to have the child, but refuses to take any responsibility for the child when it is born. Welfare laws are punitive, and child care facilities are nonexistent. The same society that condemns the unwed mother has virtually no concept of the unwed father. It glorifies motherhood within marriage, yet labels the unwed child “illegitimate.” There is no such thing as an illegitimate child. No child should be branded for life by a totally unnecessary stigma that implies that his or her existence as a human being is not fully recognized by society.
Abortion becomes the only realistic alternative for many women, married and unmarried, who are caught in society’s trap. Some of these women simply don’t want a child; others may want the child but are forced by economic need or threatened by social stigma to seek an abortion. In a humane society no woman would be forced either to have a child or to terminate a pregnancy against her will.
One of woman’s most basic freedoms is her right to control her own body and to determine if she bears a child. Only she can determine whether she has enough emotional, physical, and economic resources at a given time to bear and rear a child. An unwanted pregnancy is a lonely ordeal, and the consequences are immeasurable in terms of personal suffering. Only the pregnant woman can understand the guilt, fear, and anxiety of being caught between society’s morals and her own needs and desires. But far more painful, and destructive than an unwanted pregnancy is an unwanted child.( Source: www.hrw.org/legac ; www.uic.edu/orgs)