We are two days away from the release of our Sex Issue and sharing teasers from some of our favourite pieces. Our second extract comes courtesy of the inspirational Rebecca Gomperts who founded Women on Waves – the abortion ship that brings safe, medical abortions to countries where it is illegal.
“Every year, according to the World Health Organisation, 42 million women have an abortion. 21 million of these are unsafe. Every year approximately 50,000 women die from unsafe abortions, whilst 5-8 million suffer lasting health consequences –
infertility, chronic pain, and any number of other things. But abortion figures are always underestimated.
These are only the official figures.”
Why do you think that making sure that women have access to medication despite the law is more important than protesting and working to have the laws changed?
Both are important. You need to change laws because they create fear, self-censorship, and discrimination. When abortion is illegal it creates a taboo. You see this in countries like Poland where abortion used to be legal: the moment it becomes illegal it is no longer normalised and it becomes something totally different. If women have access to the right medication, they can do it quietly in their own homes. This will also change the reality – it makes it less of an ordeal. If it’s illegal, women have to find somebody who can help them, which it makes it a dangerous and scary experience. With medicine available, it’s not like that anymore. It has become something that, while not legal, is safe and that you can do yourself. Access to the right medication and making sure that women have the right information normalises abortion despite the law.
Read the full interview in The Sex Issue.