Legalize abortions

Last month I posted a poll asking if abortion should be legalized in our country. Thank you for participating in the poll. And thank you for your views, both for and against legalizing abortion.

55% of you said yes, abortion should be legalized.

38% of you said no, abortion should not be legalized.

And 7% of you said, “I don’t know”.

I don’t know. That, apparently, is the government’s position too – they don’t seem to know.

When asked about abortions, the prime minister reportedly accepted that our laws are “causing certain problems and deaths to mothers.”

He added that, “The debate on the issue will go on, and it would be interesting to see the kind of discourse the media promote.” But that “No initiative will be taken by the government for the time-being.”

What? The government will do nothing? The government will take “no initiative” even though abortions cause “deaths to mothers”?

That is irresponsible.

Be responsible. Take a stand. Do something!

To prevent abortion from causing “problems and deaths to mothers” either make sure to stop abortion completely – through a combination of tough laws, sex education, family planning and contraception. Or make sure to legalize it.

But it’s not possible to put a complete halt to abortions. Just look at how many of us travel across the border to undergo abortions even though we know that they are dangerous and we know that they are illegal. And think about why emergency contraception pills are in such high demand. (A medical shop in Thimphu claims that, when they were allowed to sell emergency contraception pills, the I-Pill was a fast-selling drug, second only to Sinarest).

So legalize abortion. But do so with strict term limits, guidelines and procedures. And to reduce the number of women opting for abortions in the first place, increase sex education, family planning, counseling and contraception use.

An inconvenient truth

Last week, on the 8th of July, Bhutan Today reported that the Phuentsholing hospital received four post abortion complication cases in just one month. All the abortions had been performed across the border, in Jaigon. All four cases were life-threatening.

This week, on the 14th of July, Kuensel reported that a young woman died in Phuentsholing hospital from post abortion complications. The abortion had been performed on the 11th of July, in Jaigon, just three days after the Bhutan Today article.

Many of our women have lost their lives attempting abortions. Many, many more have suffered life-threatening complications caused by abortions. And countless others have undergone the trauma of abortions in dangerous clinics across our border.

The media have done a remarkable job informing the public about the reality of abortions, especially about abortions that go wrong. But still, the subject is taboo.

We know what’s happening. But we chose to ignore the truth.

This cannot continue. We must talk about it. This conversation will, no doubt, be uncomfortable, even difficult. But for the sake of our women – for the sake of our sisters and our daughters – we must accept what’s going on. And we must look for solutions.

What do you think?

Should we legalize abortion? Or should we explore other solutions? Please give me your views. And please take the poll.