Termination of pregnancy: How far do we really have to go?
American flags fly high as anti-abortion protestors swarm the well-manicured lawns of abortion clinics, plastering large protesting signs across the gates safeguarding women’s reproductive health services. It’s the 21 st century, yet women’s reproductive rights are under attack with the most aggressive anti-abortion law to be enacted by November 2019 in Alabama, with no exceptions for rape victims. Conversely, across the Atlantic, cheers of celebration are heard throughout Ireland, following major changes to longstanding anti- abortion laws in 2018. The Irish referendum ended with a 66% vote towards decriminalising abortion; a notable triumph for women’s reproductive rights.
Despite the deep-rooted social stigma and controversy, access to an abortion along with the necessary medical and psychological support is a common and normal part of a woman’s
reproductive life. However, 20th century medical literature framed the medicolegal conflict of abortion as the “doctor’s dilemma”, failing to recognise the woman as the most important
decision-maker during her pregnancy. The medicolegal conflict that traverses decades of abortion history starkly reminds us that reproductive medicine continues to be a practice where paternalism in the legal system impedes on the delivery of necessary and safe healthcare worldwide.