What comes to your mind when someone says abortion?
Is it a woman’s happy face? Or is it a woman screaming in pain? Is it a woman’s right to choose? Or a woman’s selfishness?
Blame it on movies, our perception about abortion is not only skewed but highly distorted as well. When we think of abortion, we think of tiny fetuses, covered in gooey stuff and blood, martyred to save a woman’s lifestyle. Not that the sight is not disturbing and horrifying, but that’s not really how abortion works.
Just like having sex with someone is a conscious choice, so is an abortion, for most women. It’s a choice that we make because our bodies belong to us, and us alone. I’m not advocating abortion and de-sensitizing the topic. All I’m saying is that before making women the villains, let’s get our facts right.
What adds fuel to the fire are the silly, ridunkulous myths that anti-abortion supporters sell as facts. So here are some ‘facts’ that we’ve managed to decode:
1. If you get an abortion, you can’t conceive later.
Very few women have problems conceiving after an abortion, if the procedure was safe and hygienic. The problem arises when women resort to illegal ways to get an abortion instead of consulting a doctor.
2. Abortion is dangerous.
To reiterate, very few women have any sort of complications if the abortion is done with the right procedure. According to how far you are in your pregnancy, different procedures of abortion are prescribed but they are all safe.
3. Abortion increases the risk of infertility.
People believe that the instruments used in surgical abortions tear and rupture the tissue, causing infections, and therefore infertility. But you’d be surprised to know that the surgical instruments used nowadays are blunt and sterilized. So the chance of getting infected is close to zero.
And having one abortion is not going to lead to infertility. The risks of infertility only increase if you have serious health issues and have had miscarriages in the past.
4. The fetus can feel the pain.
As much as pro-life, anti-abortion people would have you believe, it isn’t true. Yes, the sight is gory to look at. But be rest assured, the fetus does not feel any pain. We have nerve endings in our body that make us ‘feel’ the pain, without them, a person or fetus can not feel any pain.
5. Women can suffer from mental trauma after an abortion.
Women who have major health issues and abort a pregnancy due to complications, may have mental trauma for a while. Because it wasn’t their choice. However, a woman who decides to get an abortion usually does so with a lot of thought behind it. Anti-abortion supporters sell this lie as a fact to deter women from choosing to abort.
6. Abortion can cause breast cancer.
Nope, not true at all. You’re more likely to get breast cancer if someone in your family has had a history. Otherwise, it is not something you contract after you get an abortion.
7. It is illegal in India.
In India, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows for abortion under 12-20 weeks. Plus, many other caveats, instead of making abortion an easy process, make it look like it’s illegal. Unless proven that the continuance of the pregnancy poses a serious health risk to the woman, abortion isn’t ‘allowed’, so to say.
8. Only selfish women get abortions.
As believable as that sounds, it’s not true. Women don’t get abortions because it affects their lifestyle. It’s a choice most women make because either it’s an unwanted pregnancy (accidental) or because they’re not financially, mentally and physically ready to bring a life into this world. It has nothing to do with maintaining a toned body or whatever other reasons anti-abortion supporters give.