Viet Nam News
By Khoa Thư
Two days ago, a baby girl was found abandoned in a cemetery in Bình Thuận Province. She would have died if the people who found her hadn’t brought her to hospital.
Last week, three other babies were given up by their parents and were left on a pagoda’s doorstep, in front of a stranger’s house and in a waste cart.
Recently also, two young men named Lê Hoàng Thạch and Lê Huỳnh Hà, along with three others, initiated a campaign entitled ‘Mama! Don’t kill me’, urging the National Assembly to ban abortion.
Aiming to collect 100,000 signatures, they have been supported by some 18,000 people so far.
Currently, Việt Nam prohibits a pregnant woman from undergoing an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy or due to the child’s sex.
In introducing the campaign, they presented the fact that Việt Nam has the third highest rate of abortions in the world and call this a humanitarian disaster.
The two founders proposed the ban not apply to women terminating their pregnancy due to rape, incest or health issues.
They say they hope the law protect women from being forced into abortions by their partners or families.
In Việt Nam and across the world, to debate between pro-life and pro-choice is tricky. The status quo in the country makes me concerned about consequences if such a ban is enacted.
Bringing up a child is not all sunshine and rainbows, something my parents can attest to.
A child deserves the best his community can offer and safe shelter, food and an education at a minimum.
Will an unwanted child get what they need to grow up happy and healthy?
I believe they face a higher risk of being neglected, abandoned or harassed.
I do believe in good will and even magic. However, real life is not what the Oscar-winning movie Juno portrays.
In the coming-of-age film, a sixteen-year-old Juno is pregnant by her friend, Paulie. Initially, she considers an abortion. Many twists and turns happen and in the end, she decides to give birth and give the baby up for adoption.
Some 300,000 fetuses are aborted every year in Việt Nam, according to Ministry of Health (MoH). Some may see this as a terrifying figure, but much more damage could be done if those children were born.
Would they be accepted and cared for by their parents? Would they be adopted, have a sweet childhood, go to school and grow up healthily physically and mentally?
What we have seen in the past two weeks shows the converse can happen too.
An abortion ban would force women to use shoddy medical clinics where they have to undergo the procedure using unsafe facilities.
According to the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information, even safe abortion has risks in terms of health facilities, medical worker’s skills and the age of the fetus.
Legal induced abortion was also stressed by the World Health Organisation as an important prevention against abortion death and disability in a report issued February this year.
Research by the MoH reveals that up to 56 per cent of unplanned pregnancies happen as people do not use contraceptives while 40 per cent are due to ineffective contraception.
This shows the failure of the education system, social work, media and healthcare system in providing knowledge on safe sex and contraception.
There is no better way to prevent abortion than to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Therefore, as young, dedicated men, the two leaders should think of promoting the use of condoms as a simple solution to prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections.
We shouldn’t not think about abortion as a crime, but instead as a necessity or last resort, because every child born should be wanted and welcomed. - VNS