By the end of June 2017, women in Northern Ireland gained access to free abortions.
Before women had to travel all the way to England and pay 900 euros for this medical procedure, according to The Guardian. Now women all over the country can have the procedure, no matter what their financial situation is. While there are still limitations for women who are unable to travel to Britain, the fact that Northern Ireland is covering the cost is a huge step in the right direction. They are setting an example of the progress other nations should try to make.
Although women will still have to fund their travels to and from Northern Ireland, and work out other logistics, access to free abortions will help save lives. Many who cannot afford the procedure end up performing abortions on themselves or go through dangerous alternative methods. These methods have the potential to severely injure and even kill women.
The Human Reproduction Programme reports that up to 47,000 women die each year due to unsafe abortions. Almost 22,000,000 women, globally, will undergo an unsafe abortion.
This is why it is so important that women all over the world have access to free abortions. Free abortions allows women to make choices without risking injury or death and without the stigma that comes along with abortions. While some may argue the pro-life argument, forcing women to have dangerous abortions puts their lives at risk, which seems to be against what pro-lifers stand for. Everyone’s circumstances are different, which is a very important thing to remember, especially when it comes to something as taboo and frowned upon as abortions.
Both women and men should be educated on the risk of performing an unsafe abortion. Now that Northern Ireland had made the move it would be great to see other countries follow. Countries like the United States could implement this free policy into their healthcare coverage. We have to come together and demand that women around the world have free access.
This is a moment to celebrate an important step in women’s rights and health! We have much more to accomplish but an inch is still an inch in the right direction.