Organizations around the world are celebrating “International Safe Abortion Day.” But in their promotion of the event, they’re failing to address its main flaw: Abortion is never safe, because it always ends at least one life.
International organizations including Amnesty International and national groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood recognized “International Safe Abortion Day” on September 28. Backed by some in the media, they flocked to Twitter to promote abortion.
For its “#SafeAbortionDay” tweet, NARAL argued that, “There's absolutely nothing ‘pro-life’ about cutting off access to safe abortion care.” That’s because, it claimed, states with abortion restrictions also have higher rates of infant and maternal deaths.
NARAL’s right: Infant and maternal deaths should be prevented. But that doesn’t mean abortion is the answer. Abortion is never the answer.
The UN Special Procedures, or UN human rights experts based in Geneva, Switzerland, tweeted, “The devastating consequences on [women]'s lives & health caused by unsafe abortions leave no space for retrogression.” In other words, “All states must ensure access to safe & legal abortion as a matter of #HumanRights.”
“#HealthForAll,” the experts declared. Except for the unborn, that is.
For its part, Amnesty International chanted, “My body, my health. My body, my choice. My body, my rights. My body, my voice.”
Like the others, it overlooked that with every pregnancy, there are two bodies – not one.
The organization also revealed that it had partnered with Women’s March Global for the day. Together, the two groups released messages including, “Criminalising abortion does not stop abortions. It makes them less safe” [sic] and “Abortion is a basic healthcare need for millions of people.”
But health care’s aim is never to end lives; It is to save them.
Still, Emily’s List in Australia shared that the day marked “a global day of action for universally accessible safe and legal abortion” because “Abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a human right.”
Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts echoed, “#Sept28 is a Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right. All people deserve access to safe, legal abortion.”
Once associated with Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute warned, “Globally, abortion stigma still discourages many people from seeking safe abortion & postabortion care.” That’s why, it added, “Reducing stigma through education & awareness campaigns is an urgent global health issue.”
In another tweet, it continued, “Increasing access to safe and legal abortion is key to eliminating unsafe abortion and its impact on the health and well-being of women worldwide.”
Also chiming in, the Center for Reproductive Rights continued, “No one should be denied safe abortion care just because of where they live. But today, 90 million women of reproductive age still live in countries that ban abortion.”
Voices published by the media also showed support.
Just in time for International Safe Abortion Day, TIME published a story with the headline “Abortion Bans Strip People of Their Human Rights. Here's Why We Must Stand In Solidarity Against Them.” For the piece, Uma Mishra-Newbery, the Women’s March Global executive director, and Jaime Todd-Gher an Amnesty International legal advisor, wrote that, “Any person who does not control what happens to their body cannot be free.”
While “we all have a role to play in reclaiming our rights,” they wrote, governments must also “expand access to safe, lawful and affordable abortion and contraception for all people.”
“Not only is it the humane thing to do, it is a state obligation under international law,” they concluded. “It will prevent countless deaths, life-long trauma and life-changing injuries.”
Something else prevents those too: a culture of life. Again, the writers, along with the many organizations celebrating “International Safe Abortion Day,” forgot to address the pro-life movement’s concern: that abortion always ends a life. Furthermore, it wounds women, many of whom choose abortion because they feel like they had no other choice.
Abortion doesn’t have to be the only option. That’s why pregnancy centers, which provide pregnant women and new moms with free support including free housing, medical supplies, clothing, and educational classes, are so important.
Women deserve better than abortion, which is never safe.