The term abortion brings out an array of emotions from various quarters of society, raising pertinent issues about health, hygiene and the right to live. While critics argue that the unborn child has a right to live just like anyone else, there are certain situations that may force some women to consider abortion like the presence of multiple children already in the family, advanced maternal age, underlying medical conditions that could affect the unborn child or poor financial situation that dictate an inability to bring up a child. These are just a few situations that plague a woman when she opts for abortion and, according to some of the latest statistics, one in three American women would have undergone abortion by the time she turned 45 years of age. A considerable number indeed!
The current abortion laws require the physician performing the abortions to have admitting rights in a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. This has brought in a lot of flak as clinics that function in rural areas do not have quick access to big hospitals. Moreover, as most of the clinics function with visiting doctors, the doctors would not have admitting rights at hospitals, requiring such clinics to close down. This would seriously disadvantage women who live in rural areas and who are unable to go to bigger hospitals as a result of financial constraints.
Complications that may arise from abortions can be handled by emergency staff and do not require hospitalisation; therefore doctors may not require admitting rights at hospitals. This has been the crux of the argument put forth by lawyers in order to get a stay on the law. The disturbing factor here is that out of the 5 abortion clinics that are present in the state, 3 would be forced to shut down resulting in just 2 functioning clinics.
The dearth of legal centres for abortion will result in the mushrooming of illegal shanties where hygiene and care may not be a priority. Alarming instances of poor care and hygiene have been identified by investigators at such makeshift moneymaking centres.
Therefore the statements of District Judge Myron Thomson describing the law as “an unconstitutional purpose of creating a substantial obstacle” were welcomed in many circles. A stay has been announced which would mean that the abortion clinics can function as they have been.
It was the trial of Kermit B. Gosnell that resulted in the law. Kermit, along with his wife, ran an abortion facility which was seen as a hugely profitable centre. However, a staff introduced high levels of anaesthesia that led to the death of a woman after she gave birth to healthy twins. Subsequently, the infants were killed by cutting their spinal cords. Further, investigators found various body parts of foetuses in different parts of the clinic. This shocking crime instigated the law to protect women who seek abortion, however, the current law seems to edge them quite in the opposite direction.
Laws are meant to uphold the rights of every citizen of our country and changes to the current abortion law will only further this vision.
Author Jeremy S. is a graduate in corporate law whose primary areas of expertise are mortgages and taxes.