Top US judges signal support for abortion limits

The US Supreme Court appears poised to accept a Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.

In the hearing into the case on 1st December 2021, conservative justices hinted that a majority backed upholding the law.

Anti-abortion activists are urging the court to “protect unborn children”, but experts warn of an increase in maternal mortality if abortion is restricted.

Sharing the story of a US citizen Julie Bindeman who had abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Bindeman, a clinical psychologist who lives in Maryland, and her husband already had a young son when she became pregnant again in 2009.

During a routine ultrasound in the 20th week of her pregnancy, doctors discovered that the fetus, a boy, had a brain abnormality.

They told her if he survived to term, he would never be able to walk or talk, would be unable to feed himself and in the “best case scenario” would have the developmental quality of life of a two-month old.

“We said we can’t do that,” Bindeman said. “We can’t do that to our son. We can’t do that to ourselves.”

“But most importantly, we can’t do that to this little boy.”

Bindeman said she and her husband made the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy, and she had an abortion.

She became pregnant again five months later and, in a statistical improbability, tests again revealed that the fetus had serious brain abnormalities.

Bindeman had another abortion at 18 weeks.

“These are decisions that people need to make in the context of their family, potentially their faith advisor and certainly with their health care provider,” she said. “No one else needs to make the decision.”

Bindeman and her husband have since had two healthy children.

What campaigners said

Among the campaigners, Carol Tobias, president of anti-abortion group National Right to Life, told the BBC she was optimistic the court would step in “to protect unborn children”.

“We certainly hope that they will let the Mississippi law stand,” she said. “We’d love to see them go even further and say that unborn human beings deserve the same protection as born human beings”.

But for other women in Washington DC, the possibility of restricted abortion brought fear.

“I’m not shocked, but I’m scared,” said Olivia Dinucci. “Abortion still going to happen, people are going to do it no matter if it’s legal or not. However, it will not be safe.”

Many countries have strict abortion laws, and recently some of them have reformed said laws for protecting the rights of the mother. Many feminists believe that these laws are in violation of the mother’s rights. To determine the legality of the abortion, the state usually sets a few parameters. Between 2010 and 2017, some 27 countries broadened their legal grounds for abortion.

In conservative societies like ours in Bangladesh, people are always quick to judge a woman who wants to get an abortion, although it is a personal matter. When a country imposes laws against abortion it opens up more ways to stigmatize the issue and those who choose to end their pregnancies — for whatever reason.

In Bangladesh, abortion is illegal under most situations, but menstrual regulation is often used as a substitute. Bangladesh is still governed by the penal code from 1860, where induced abortion is illegal unless the woman is in danger.

Source: BBC, Dhaka Tribune

Image: Reuters

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