Why is access to abortion on request in early pregnancy important?
This would end unsafe abortions. Women and girls would no longer have to travel overseas, or take abortion pills illegally without proper medical support. Women pregnant through rape wouldn’t have to prove they were raped to access abortion. Women whose health could be damaged by continuing a pregnancy could avoid their health deteriorating.
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Women who decide to terminate pregnancies will access abortion services as early as they can. They may not find out right away that they are pregnant though, and will need time to make decisions that are right for them and their families. Normally they find out after missing a period, so they may already be pregnant for four to six weeks. If a woman has been using contraception, or has irregular periods, it may take even longer to know she is pregnant. Once she does realise, she needs time to make an unhurried, considered decision. That’s why a minimum 12-week period is important. It ensures pregnant women can consider their personal or family circumstances, get all the information they need, and make the decision that is right for them. Limiting ‘on request’ access to abortion to early pregnancy is also a way in which states safeguard foetal welfare.
Also, this sort of access would help women with health conditions that will be worsened by continuing a pregnancy. If they have to rely only on the health ground for abortion access proposed by the government, they would have to wait until their health is at risk of “serious harm”. With access on request in early pregnancy though, they could make the decision with their doctors’ advice sooner.
And women who are pregnant as a result of rape would not have prove the rape. Adding a ‘rape exception’ to other countries’ laws hasn’t worked. Women often must go through traumatic and humiliating procedures, like report to the police to get a certification from a judge. This can traumatise rape survivors again.