Banning Abortion – A Profound Decision or an Undemocratic Limitation
Abortion is a harsh topic to discuss, regardless if the discussion takes place in the USA or in Bulgaria. Follow what the finalists of the 2019 Journalist Bootcamp that took place in Blagoevgrad – Dayana Milieva, Stefani Stefanova, Aleksandra Dralcheva – found out about the views shared by Bulgarians on this controversial topic.
In May 2019, news about abortion ban in U.S. state of Alabama made global headlines. Local legislators passed a bill banning abortions with limited exceptions, mainly focused on avoiding a serious health risk to the mother or preventing the birth of a child with a lethal anomaly. An amendment to exempt rape and incest victims failed to pass, despite the efforts of Democratic party legislators. According to the law, doctors, who perform abortions should be punished with a penalty of up to 99 years in prison. The law was later enforced in different forms in the states of Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia.
The situation that developed in the U.S. resonated around the globe and sparked discussion even in remote Bulgaria. Bulgarian politician Volen Siderov followed the trend in the US and field a proposal for a similarly constructed anti-abortion law in the country. He argued that his perspective is applicable for the country as one of Bulgaria’s main social and economic problems is the demographic crisis caused by immigration and low birth rates.
Siderov’s proposal gave rise to massive dissatisfaction among Bulgarians, similar to the one observed in the U.S. In a set of interviews carried out by a sCOOL Media team in Blagoevgrad, only 4 out of 17 interviewees claimed that they would support the implementation of the anti-abortion law.
The responses of the interviewees highly depend on the age groups that they fit into – children and teenagers, middle aged people, and the aging population. The opinion, predominantly shared by elderly people was one in support of the ban on abortion. Their main arguments were linked to their hope that less abortions could alleviate the problems posed by the demographic crisis. “If the woman doesn’t want to give birth when she is already pregnant, she should give the child to an orphanage and not undergo abortion because there are millions of people, who have reproductive difficulties and dream of having a child”, one of the interviewees told sCOOL Media. They also believe that the cases of abortion due to rape and incest are such a small percentage that it’s not worth legalizing an inhumane activity for such rare instances.
The younger population had a different point of view. The young people sCOOL media interviewed were of the opinion that the anti-abortion law disrespects women’s rights and their freedom of choice. A 30-year old woman commented: “Every woman should have the right of an individual decision if she wants to give birth or not.” They also persist that it is irreverent to force rape or incest victims to give birth due to reasons, which might emotionally and mentally harm the women, therefore, leading to intentional miscarriage in order to achieve the desired outcome. Only one representative of the aging population – a 55-year old woman – supported the opinions of the young interviewees: “Abortion is a completely personal choice of each woman.” Teenagers and young people are terrified by the fact that a Senate dominated by male representatives has the right to implement a law that directly affects women’s choice.
Overall, the topic turned out to be very controversial and succeeds to present paradoxical opinions, which leads to the conclusion that a global consensus, which accepts the views of all sides will be hard to reach in the near future.