Abortion Is Legal in Japan

The U.S. Supreme Court`s decision last week to overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that considered abortion a constitutional right has reignited the controversial debate over access to trial in the United States. With the U.S. Supreme Court set to overturn a 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, there is a global spotlight on reproductive care — including in Japan, which has some of the strictest restrictions on abortion among rich countries. The global issue behind the American struggle for abortion In 1842, the shogunate in Japan banned induced abortion in Edo, but the law did not affect the rest of the country until 1869, when abortion was banned nationwide. [3] [4] However, the crime was rarely punished unless the conception was the result of adultery or the woman had died as a result of the abortion procedure. [3] The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology has requested that the Maternal Health Law be amended to allow women to request an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without the consent of a third party. WHO and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women have recommended that Japan abolish this requirement. Abortion: Do you have an abortion (abortion). Surgical abortion is offered by gynecologists in Japan, but most often with it. In recent years, some politicians have questioned whether, given the country`s declining population and low birth rate, women should have access to abortion – or whether it`s important. «I wake up every morning thinking about abortion and what might have been different,» said Yuriko, who is due to be submitted next month. «If less invasive pathways like abortion pills were available, as is the case in other countries, I think I could have done it.» Women`s health activists have called on the Japanese government to change a law that requires married women to seek their husband`s consent before they can have an abortion.

PIP: In Japan, abortion is essentially a crime, except for certain indications. These indications have to do with mental illness, hereditary diseases, leprosy, threat to the health of the mother and pregnancy as a result of rape or threat. This information came into force with the Eugenic Protection Act of 1948. On 1 January 1991, a new regulation came into force that shortened the duration of abortion from 23 weeks of pregnancy to 21 weeks, as the drugs allowed premature babies to survive outside the womb. In one case in 1988, when the fetus of a 16-year-old girl was aborted and left unattended at the 25th week of pregnancy, even though it was still alive, the doctor was charged and punished, although the child`s probability of survival was estimated at about 50%. According to the law, the doctor who has performed a legal abortion is obliged to report it to the authorities, who compile annual statistics. Since 1955, when the abortion rate was at its highest (about 1,150,000 abortions), this number has steadily declined. In 1991, the abortion rate was 13.9/1000 women of childbearing age (15-50 years); However, there were large differences between prefectures (6.4-26.0/1000).

The decrease in the frequency of abortions can be attributed to the increase in contraceptive use. It is alarming that the abortion rate has increased among women under the age of 20 and at an advanced stage of pregnancy. In 1990, out of a total of 33,286 abortions, 1015 were affected in women under 20 between the ages of 20 and 23 weeks of pregnancy, and this rate was higher than that of older age groups. Undoubtedly, the abolition in 1952 of the requirement that abortion claimants undergo an examination by two doctors liberalized the Abortion Act. However, many young pregnant women who need help do not receive adequate support and advice and may end up in prostitution. But as in Yuriko`s case, many hospitals apply the requirement for single women anyway. The Health Ministry`s opinion is not legally binding and allows clinics to create their own practices and prices to provide abortions, said Kumi Tsukahara, a founding member of Action for Safe Abortion Japan, a reproductive health advocacy group. Overall, the total number of officially reported abortions in 2019 was 156,430[9], a 56% decrease from the number reported for the year 2000. The overall abortion rate changed over the same period, from 22.3 to 15.3 abortions per 1,000 live births. Further on, there were 598,084 abortions in 1980 and 1,063,256 in 1960.

[9] In 2019, 49 abortions were reported for women aged 13 and under and another 3,904 for women aged 14 to 17. Approximately 39,805 abortions were performed on women between the ages of 20 and 24. [9] «When I go to politicians to talk about [reproductive rights], they sometimes ask me, `Why are you talking about contraceptives when we`re dealing with so few babies?` That`s not the point. But I still think things about reproduction are always thought in the context of national profit, rather than in women`s choice,» said Fukuda, the activist. «The discussion should really revolve around creating a social system that can further support these women and destigmatize women`s access to abortion.» If your pregnancy is not planned, or if there are health problems about the pregnancy, you may have a lot of questions, or you may feel scared or insecure. Women often have different needs and questions about the end of a pregnancy, depending on their stage of pregnancy, possible health problems, and personal feelings and values. If you`re considering an abortion, it can help you get answers to some of the following questions: Safe abortion activists have warned that the abortion pill, which is not covered by national health insurance, will be prohibitively expensive for many women. Japan is one of 11 countries — and the only one in the group of seven largest economies — that require women to seek their spouse`s consent to have an abortion, with very few exceptions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, an international organization. In practice, proponents say, the requirement often applies to single women and has led to rare and tragic cases where women leave their babies in public places to die — something designed to please the baby hatching at Jikei Hospital.

Mizuho Fukushima, a lawmaker from the opposition Social Democratic Party, warned that the high cost of surgical abortions and the requirement to consent force women to undergo unwanted pregnancies. A scenario study was conducted to assess the extent to which the rate of unwanted pregnancies in Japan could change for the period when oral contraceptives (OCs) were not yet legalized for family planning purposes and couples relied primarily on condoms if more women used CO. Data from Japan`s 1994 National Family Planning Survey were used to create scenarios for national contraceptive use. Annual contraceptive failure and non-use rates were applied to contraceptive scenarios to obtain estimates of the annual number of pregnancies associated with contraceptive disorders.