International Safe Abortion Day

by | September 28, 2017
It is International Safe Abortion Day. Some thoughts come to mind for me. Many (maybe most, even possibly all public) pro-life positions equate to anti-human right positions. If you’ll indulge, I can support the argument:

Human Rights Watch states:

Women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions is restricted in law or in practice in most countries in the world…Abortion is a highly emotional subject and one that excites deeply held opinions. However, equitable access to safe abortion services is first and foremost a human right. Where abortion is safe and legal, no one is forced to have one. Where abortion is illegal and unsafe, women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term or suffer serious health consequences and even death.

…international human rights legal instruments and authoritative interpretations of those instruments compel the conclusion that women have a right to decide independently in all matters related to reproduction, including the issue of abortion. [Emphasis added.] (Human Rights Watch, n.d.)

As “first and foremost a human right,” the arguments for the pro-choice perspective amount to the pro-human right view because the right to choose, or not, is the point, which implies safe and equitable access to the abortion services or part of reproductive health services.

In areas of the world, countries or sections of countries, where the reproductive health service is limited, the ability of women to make the choice is limited, which is the right, and so becomes a violation of the right.

That’s what a free choice is: the ability to select between at least two options. If no options, then no choice, so denial of the right is implied.

Many pro-life positions want to limit the access of this reproductive health service, which goes against the equitable and safe access to the service and so violates the choice and, thus, the right: hence, the pro-life position becomes anti-human right; and the pro-choice position becomes pro-human right.

Multiple United Nations experts¹ came together,* deliberated on abortion, and “called on States across the world to repeal laws that criminalize and unduly restrict abortion and policies based on outdated stereotypes, to release all women in prison on abortion charges and to counter all stigma against abortion” (OHCHR, 2017).

I am pro-human right here. Even in Calgary, Alberta, there are clinics simply calling for the end to harassment (Cameron, 2017). That is, the social bullying for restriction of abortion is an issue in Canada, too. Worse yet, throughout the globe, half of the abortions performed in the world are in unsafe conditions (Thomson Reuters, 2017).

In these reflections and in sympathy with many, many Canadians with pro-life, or even simply conflicted-agnostic positions, I must stand with the pro-human right positions. If someone doesn’t want them, the only fair one for all is to be able to choose or not, not to force the ability to not choose, to not have the right, on all implied by the pro-life/anti-human right positions through restriction of services in any way.


¹ International Safe Abortion Day – Thursday 28 September 2017 (2017) states:

Kamala Chandrakirana, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice; Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Dainius Pûras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

OHCHR. (2017, September 27). International Safe Abortion Day – Thursday 28 September 2017. Retrieved from


Cameron, E. (2017, September 27). Calgary abortion clinic wants provincial protection from harassment. Retrieved from

Human Rights Watch. (n.d.). Abortion. Retrieved from

OHCHR. (2017, September 27). International Safe Abortion Day – Thursday 28 September 2017. Retrieved from

Thomson Reuters. (2017, September 27). Nearly half of abortions worldwide are unsafe, study says. Retrieved from

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About Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email, his website, or Twitter.

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