Quite often, we hear in the news that women have interrupted their pregnancy voluntarily either with the help of doctors or medicine taken on their own. Often clandestine abortion has caused more damage than good. Many women have lost their lives. Often, we ask the question whether abortion should be legalised? The youth shows their concerns on this issue.
Under the penal Code, abortion is illegal and is not allowed even if the life of the mother or the child is threatened. Nevertheless, due to strict legal parameters, clandestine illegal abortions are being performed in all corners of the island, allegedly by untrained doctors, nurses, midwives and “wise women” and mostly under unsafe conditions. There exist various reasons why women opt for abortion such as failure in contraceptive use, desire to continue their education, inability to meet the basic needs of their prospective babies/ children, poor health conditions or being unprepared to become mothers at that particular period of time in their lives.
Tariq Jhungeer: “Abortion should not be regarded as a crime”
Tariq avers that abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of one’s pregnancy. “When you analyse in depth the current situation in Mauritius, abortion should not be regarded as a crime in certain circumstances. Nowadays, we can easily find out any abnormality of a foetus through amniocentesis test. In this case, a woman has the right to decide if she wants to give birth to an abnormal child or if she wants to abort the foetus. If a young girl is raped, do you think she will be capable of giving birth to her baby and raise the latter by herself? She might not be physically and mentally capable of doing do, as she just went through a traumatic experience. In these situations, an abortion would definitely be a wise decision.” However, as advocated by Tariq, abortion should not be practised in all cases. “Strict rules should be made regarding teenage pregnancy and abortion for teenagers should be regarded as a crime with strict consequences. With severe rules and regulations in relation to abortion, it can be practised wisely in Mauritius without giving rise to teenage pregnancy or any other similar issues.”
Kawsar Jeewon: “Abortion is a crime”
Kawsar argues that this is a deliberate termination of human pregnancy. “When we talk of abortion, we are referring to the life of a human being at the embryonic stage. Abortion means to kill. The choice of abortion is objectively immoral. As early as eight or ten weeks of gestation, the foetus starts to develop in human form with heartbeats and a brain.”
Kawsar believes that abortion is a crime whereas a child is a blessing. “It is a blessing. The government of Mauritius should enforce more laws concerning the occurrence of abortion. It is an immoral act and should not be legalised.”
Kirtee Ashvin Gobin: “Abortion should be legalised in Mauritius”
Kirtee Ashvin Gobin supports the view that abortion should be legalised in Mauritius. “All the religious groups are against legalisation while those in favour claim it is the right of a woman to decide. There are several reasons why abortions should be legal and we should leave it to a woman to decide. Only a woman may decide to seek an abortion when the health of the foetus is at risk or the health of the woman is in danger. Even in case of incest or rape, it is up to the woman to decide what she wants.”
She further adds that “a woman should not be expected to give birth to a child if there is something seriously wrong with the baby, such as missing limbs or other serious health complications. There is no point to put the life of a woman in danger. Even for rape, the woman has no right to endure more psychological issues.”
Zaynab Mohamudally: “Abortion erodes moral standards”
Zaynab argues that abortion is a lurking evil undermining many societies of the world including Mauritius. “Abortion has been undertaken secretly by our women as a means of terminating unwanted pregnancies. The Mauritian law aims at protecting women’s health and lives by making abortion illegal, which is a good thing. Various religions in Mauritius strongly oppose to the legalisation of abortion, as they maintain the absolute right and respect of the foetus’ life.”
She believes that as a mere human beings, we do not have the right to terminate a life. “Accepting abortion would sooner or later contribute to the erosion of moral standards of our society. Other opponents claim that getting rid of a foetus may hamper forever the fertility of a woman who can no longer dream of motherhood. Medically speaking, legalizing abortion insinuates leading the woman towards serious physical deficiencies. Legalising this practice would also encourage the scourge of teenage pregnancy throughout the island. Abortion should be maintained as an illegal practice.”
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