First published on the ASAP Blog
Right to health is a utopian dream where everyone deserves to be healthy and has the right to live in an environment which ensures a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just an absence of disease or infirmity. In the context of abortion, it implies to eliminate all predisposing factors, which lead to unsafe abortion; such as lack of knowledge about pregnancy and contraception, lack of accessible, safe and affordable abortion services and post abortion care.
Though addressing these issues and progressive efforts to fend off patriarchal influences over women’s sexuality and reproduction should remain as the vision, a more immediate endeavour should be to ensure the right to comprehensive healthcare which vis a vis abortion translates into access to safe abortion services devoid of all barriers and stigma routinely faced by women across the globe like legal (restrictive laws, other’s opinion/authorization), physical (poor availability and uneven distribution), social (abortion stigma for both seeker and provider), financial (procedural and associated costs).
Abortion enables women to have control over their bodies and in order to make this a reality it is imperative to strive for the right to abortion within the ambit of the right to health as a fundamental women’s health right.