Why should abortion be legal? Because when it isn’t, the consequences can be dire. Honduras can confirm this.
In Honduras abortion has been totally illegal for years. Has that caused abortion to stop? The answer is predictable. No. According to a Honduran newspaper, La Prensa, as many as 80,000 abortions happen yearly. And that is because in Honduras an abortion-inducing pill can cost as little as 11 dollars or as much as 32 (in Lempiras, the cost is between 250-750). But these abortion inducing pills are dangerous, causing sterility, and occasionally even death due to misinformation about dosage sizes.
Some technical information: the pills that many Hondurans are using seem to be Cytotec pills, a medication given to people seeking to treat gastritis. These pills can only legally be obtained with a prescription but many pharmacies in Honduras do not ask for them, and according to the report on La Prensa it is even possible to obtain the pills via Facebook groups. Some clinics in the nation even request that a girl or teen get ahold of a Cytotec pill and consume it before they assist her, and they will just handle the remains of the fetus, as a method meant to minimize the legal risk they face, given Honduras’s attitudes (legally) to abortions.
It has been time to legalize abortion in Honduras for years (or at the bare minimum emergency contraception, so-called “plan B” pills which are also outlawed). This only further demonstrates that outlawing abortion is dangerous and does little to prevent abortions. If abortion is deemed unconstitutional/illegal and or criminalized further this will do nothing to prevent abortions. The report is proof that outlawing abortions only prevents SAFE abortions. Abortion, when done in safe conditions and when done properly is still a controversial procedure. But it being a controversial procedure overseen by professional doctors and men and women who have a track record of genuinely caring for their patients is infinitely better than women taking potentially dangerous and misused medicated to induce an abortion by themselves, quite possibly out of fear for their own lives (due to the possibly of being kicked out for being pregnant).
It is time that the Supreme Court of Honduras pays attention, and does the right thing. If governmental officials in Honduras care for the quality of the lives of young women nationwide they ought to move to decriminalize both abortion and emergency contraception. And then continue by working with educators, gynecologists, and activists to create a national curriculum of sex education which begins in a student’s first year, and continues until they graduate. As well as work to create ads and campaigns which increase awareness of sex education.
If Honduras actually wants to stop “back-alley” and or in-home abortions, they need to begin right now. Literally today. And one of the most important steps in this process is to decriminalize abortion. And then they need to work to create strict punishments for pharmacies and private individuals who sell drugs requiring prescriptions, without prescriptions. Or get rid of this system altogether. But this is a terrible situation demanding strict regulation.
If you want to read the report, check it out here and if you want to read a translation of it, click here.