Women having rights to their own bodies, radical I know.

It is nice to see that women are being treated more like human beings in Ethiopia.  Reproductive freedom is a cornerstone of womens rights and needs to be fostered and protected wherever possible.  The Guttmacher Institute has just publicized a study done in Ethiopia.   It is still not a completley rosy picture over there however:

Only 14% of Ethiopian women of reproductive age use contraceptives. The low level of contraceptive use leads to high levels of unintended pregnancy, the root cause of abortion: Some 42% of all pregnancies are unintended. The study also found that the majority of women seeking treatment for complications of unsafe abortion—81%—were married. By contrast, only 46% of women seeking induced abortions were married. The vast majority of both groups—92% of women seeking postabortion care and 79% of women who had abortions—were mothers. The average age among both groups was 28.”

Funny how facts actually dispel the tripe anti-choice activists like to throw around.  Darn irresponsible women (already mothers) just doing it because they can.

“The study estimates that, in 2008, 382,500 abortions were performed in Ethiopia, for an annual rate of 23 per 1,000 women aged 15–44. Despite women’s expanded legal access to abortion, only 27% of these—103,000—were legal and safe procedures performed in health facilities.

The study also found that, in 2008, 58,600 women were treated for abortion-related complications, primarily resulting from unsafe procedures. Among these, 100 women died from their complications, and many more suffered from related injuries or illnesses. Four out of 10 women showed signs of infection or invasive injuries when they arrived at health facilities for postabortion care. Many women with complications never reach health care facilities, because they live too far from services, they avoid seeking help because of fear and stigma, or they die before reaching a facility.”

The negative consequences of not having access to reproductive health services is quite clear.  So when you hear the fetus fetishists go on about how women are ‘just fine’  once stripped of their reproductive rights, you know it is pure bull-cookery.

“Global data show that expanding legal abortion access reduces death and illness from unsafe abortion. For example, South Africa saw abortion-related maternal mortality decline by more than 50% after expanding access in 1997. Many stakeholders throughout the region are looking to Ethiopia as a model for addressing a crisis in maternal mortality. The current study will serve as a baseline for assessing the country’s progress in reducing maternal deaths as the government continues to expand services.”

A big thanks to the Guttmacher Institute for reporting on such important issues.

I had the intention of making this a post about how to diffuse some of the arguments anti-choice people make.  The quoted bits are good examples that take down some of the toxic memes that have formed around the debate.   I swear though, if I hear what about the baaaaaaaby one more time I will blow a lobe because that is not arguing, but rather, a complete denial of the woman in the whole process of reproduction.  Women are not mere vessels meant only for reproduction, but fully autonomous beings that have the right to determine what goes on in their body.

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