McWilliams: Abortion should be safe, not illegal

Leta McWilliams

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

Correction: In the article “Abortion should be safe, not illegal” published Wednesday, Sept. 20, the information reading “…anywhere between 200 thousand to 1.2 million women would die annually from having an unsafe abortion.” This was a misinterpretation of data. The statement has been changed to, “Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s range from 200 thousand to 1.2 million per year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In 1950, the death toll from illegal abortions was just over 300.”

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EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, Kentucky is the last abortion clinic standing in the state. Currently, it is fighting to keep its license because it does not follow the new abortion rules set by the state. It is important that the clinic stays open, but it is also important that they are able to follow the new laws because it is essential to the health of women in the state of Kentucky. Regardless of whether or not abortion is legal, abortions will happen. 

Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s range from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In 1950, the death toll from illegal abortions was just over 300.  Now that it’s legal, only 1 in 167 thousand women die from having an abortion. Regardless of your viewpoint, the statistics alone show that we need to provide the service to women, because it will happen anyway.

However, Kentucky’s new laws toward abortion are actually improving the service, but because the EMW Women’s Surgical Center doesn’t have the funding to support these new laws, they might have to shut down.

The new laws include requiring the patient to receive an ultrasound before receiving the abortion and not being able to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The aspect of the law that is causing the biggest problem is requiring the abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital with an ambulance provider in case anything were to happen that would threaten the patient’s life. This is a problem for abortion clinics because a hospital has the right to not agree to a transfer agreement, and for financial reasons.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood are arguing in court that these new laws are unconstitutional towards a woman’s right to an abortion, and that it is a law that is being put in place to stop abortion clinics. I cannot vouch for the intentions of Kentucky’s lawmakers, but as a woman I do not think these terms are unconstitutional. The new laws are encouraging safer abortions, which is the right thing to do.

Alternatives to this problem would be to encourage hospitals and provide incentives to agree to a transfer agreement. Another would be to have any sort of government funding for abortion clinics to compensate for the lack of money.

Colorado is one of the many states that do not require a transfer agreement in order for an abortion clinic to be running. As far as abortion laws go, Colorado is very lenient compared to other states. There is no mandatory waiting period, and abortions are legal up to 26 weeks into the pregnancy, and 34 weeks if there are severe medical risks towards the mother or the child.

Here in Fort Collins, there is a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic less than a mile from the Colorado State University campus. Though everyone may not agree with abortion, it is necessary to have abortion clinics accessible, otherwise many women may hurt themselves having one illegally.

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams