Amongst the many problems that the world is currently facing, the biggest is that of the ever-rising population. The population of every country is increasing, and with the passage of time, the world is seemingly becoming a smaller place to live in.
The issue of abortion has been an old controversy world-over and has been exercised since time immemorial. Abortion and its various methods are not something that takes place only in today’s upcoming generations, but even people of the old era used to perform or experience this deceitful act. According to the World Health Organization, there are 20 million unsafe abortions that take place around the globe annually, of which 75,000 women die (Ramnundlall, E. & Kriel, L., 2003).
No matter what the reason for performing an abortion, it seems to be an unethical act, and the latest issues that have been given importance, are the ways that are employed to carry out the abortions. They may be done through surgeries, or through various medicines administered into the body of the female. The reasons for such an act may be numerous, some of which may be, lack of contraceptive use, or unawareness regarding contraceptives that may result in unwanted pregnancies, etc.
Pregnancies may be unwanted because after the marital bliss that a couple of experiences, and after one or two babies, bearing more children may feel it a burden on their economic conditions to bear more children. An addition to the family may be more of a problem than a pleasure.
These reasons have been devised for abortion execution, despite the many people that have come forth against the act of abortion. Some countries have religious issues linked to the carrying out of abortions, while others think it is an act of murder. Flushing down one’s own baby down a toilet would sound like a horrendous act.
The most abortions are carried out in countries like China and South Africa, and these nations have population growth rates that are alarming. Thus, more abortions take place, in order to have a control on the population, and family planning is encouraged.
Of the many ways to abort a baby, is that of the use of a prescribed medicine known as Mysoprostil. Nevertheless, there is a controversy about the use of this medicine, for abortion. Mysoprostil is also used for treating gastric ulcers, and to cure arthritis. The use of this medicine has been mostly for such ailments, until midwives emerged and began inducing mysoprostil pills into the vaginas of women who wanted to get their babies aborted.
The company Searle manufactures this medicine, and has not registered it as a medicine that may cause and enhance abortion. The Medicines Control Council has also not agreed to its use as a drug for abortion. Since South Africa has been spoken of as a country with a high rate of abortions, we can include the points their doctors have brought up, regarding mysoprostil and abortion. A group of doctors and medical practitioners have founded a body called the ‘Doctors For Life’. This group has given the government warnings of allowing the use of mysoprostil for abortion, and to give women their rights to liberated use of medical aid (DFL, 2001).
Additionally, there are some private abortionists who also disallow the use of this drug for abortion. They claim it is not to be used for abortions, and has other functions to perform in the body. The fact that needs to be given importance to, is, why are the medical councils not registering mysoprostil as an abortion inducing medicine, and what is keeping them from allowing for its use as a legal abortion drug?
Mysoprostil has been the preferred abortion drug, because it offers convenience to the females who want to carry out the procedure themselves, without having to get admitted into a medical centre for aborting, like in the case of a surgical procedure. The use of mysoprostil is considered a medical method of abortion, requiring the involvement of clinical visits also, despite its ease of use. The convenience of mysoprostil usage also lies in the fact that women can carry out the initial steps easily at home, and when they need assistance for the complicated part of pill insertion, they may consult any medical or health provider, which may comprise the midwives of the community or society (Harper, C., 2009).
Midwives are those women who are involved in assisting in the birth of a child, she is a trained attendant, who will provide care and comfort during the process of child birth and delivery, and also help deal with postnatal issues. A midwife also handles matters that are related to gynecology, like abortion.
In many nations, midwives are approached as soon as women carry out home or medical pregnancy tests, and learn that they have conceived. These women wish to abort their babies with minimal expenditure and publicity regarding the deed they are performing, due to the embarrassment they will have to face. In many areas, abortion is classified as a social taboo, and needs to be kept a secret. Too much ado about the matter may result in humiliation and shame. On these instances, midwives come to the rescue, and help provide assistance in giving medical aid to the concerning females. Midwives have been using mysoprostil for many years now, and the pill is used in numerous parts of the world for abortion. In some countries like South Africa itself, anti-abortion activists delayed approval for its use.
Some doctors still prefer the surgical procedure for abortion, as it is the quickest and easiest method for this act. Medicines take a long process before showing their effectiveness, and also cause side effects, say some medical professionals (Beeld, L., 2000). However, midwives will continue to use the mysoprostil pill for carrying out abortions.
The use of the mysoprostil pill for abortion involves two steps, one in which during the first visit to the doctor, the woman concerned is given mefipristone. This is followed by a follow-up visit after two days, in which the mysoprostil pill is given. The first medication of mefipristone given is to stop foetus development and growth, while the mysoprostil aborts the foetus. So it is necessary to go for the follow up visit after being given mefipristone, otherwise the procedure will remain incomplete and ineffective, and also cause complications. These complications need to be attended by health experts, and not by midwives, the way they could take care of the other procedures involving administration of the pill.
Mysoprostil use has helped women opt for voluntary abortions safely in the home premises, and away from the anti-abortion activists, which are common now. The controversy about the use of msyoprostil has erupted, because it has not been registered as an abortion drug, and is known as an ulcer medicine (Ramnundlall, E. & Kriel, L., 2003). But health workers say that the clients should be told its purpose and functions prior to usage, so that they get convinced about what they are using, and get other notions out of their heads.
Midwifery is a field in which health workers are trained to be midwives, and they are lead by and associated with various institutions, according to the different countries these employees reside in. For instance, in South Africa, the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa convince the health department whose employees these midwives are, to learn further skills for counseling, and be better informed about everything. No matter how trained midwives are, they need a lot of stamina to perform their duties wholeheartedly, especially in such cases as abortions, in which they have to dispose off aborted babies who are still making some noises, into incinerators.
It is a cruel act, which makes it unethical, and immoral. Taking away a human life, and disposing it off, and assisting in such deeds may surely be disturbing, and midwives may also be disliked because of this part of their job.
In South Africa, the number of Termination of Pregnancy or TOP facilities has been increased by the health department, and has caused chaos due to this unreasonable act. Midwives are poised as murderers, and the health department is praised for achievement of efficient family planning. In reality, this is not the scene, and medicines are given to women who undergo abortions at home (“Abortion Facilities Spread Throughout SA”, 2003).
The ethical issues involved in midwifery include the fact that they have to be sincere with their work, and perform all deeds with immense dedication, whether it be delivering a child, or dealing with an abortion (Lavinia, N., 1995). The health workers should constantly work to develop some complementary therapies for their patients.
Studies have shown the psychological theories that link to organizations, and employee attitudes and behaviors. It has been shown that midwives are more woman-centered in their work now, as compared to before, and are willingly accepting the challenges that they have to face. They have extremely tough duty hours, which they must balance with their domestic work schedules (Sandall, J., 1995).
Midwives are employees of the National Health Service, or NHS. There is a wide literature available on what they have to, according to the situations that prevail. The governance of the NHS states that midwives need to perform their duties well, with high standards so as to satisfy patients, irrespective of the tasks they are to perform (Jenkins, R., & Jones, S., 1997). Sometimes midwives have to encounter very strange women, who do not follow their advice, and have to show a stereotyped attitude towards them (Bowler, IM., 1993). If the midwives perform their duties while keeping a record of what is happening, and keeps records well with her, she may not be afraid of any law that was imposed.
The historical aspect of midwifery includes a factor that is, the gender and social class interaction within midwifery. Studies have shown it to be essential as a part of a single woman’s path to success, and career-building. But with the renaissance of midwifery all over the globe, it has been observed that more care has been linked with a midwife now, and maternity services are being looked into for improvement. It is being reviewed, as to whether the control of the reproductive process for women is increasing or is stable.
According to the Australian Nursery and Midwifery Council (ANMC), there is a set of code of ethics for midwives, which states points which include what a midwife should do, like she values the mother and infant who she is handling, she should respect herself and others, she values informed decision-making, and a strong and sustainable environment for everyone, etc.
The midwives of today are practicing with full competency, following the guidelines and sets of values they have been given in the ANMC. Their aim is to provide the best services to the mothers and children they deal with. At the regional level, midwifery will be affected according to the governing laws of the state that have been executed. Globally, their aims are the same; they will work in accordance with the rules of the health departments of their countries.
On concluding this paper, I have realized that it is important to comprehend what life means to each individual, and even more important to value one another for whom we are. We could have been aborted too. Looking at the lives and routines of midwives has surely given us food for thought. Aborting lives is not an ethical deed, whatsoever, and is a sin one should strictly refrain from.
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