Japan Approves Abortion Pill for the First Time

Japan Approves Abortion Pill for the First Time
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The Facts

  • On Friday, Japan's health ministry approved the country's first abortion pill to terminate early-stage pregnancies amid calls for progress in women's reproductive rights.

  • Women across the country can now access Mefeego, a two-step treatment of mifepristone and misoprostol that can terminate a pregnancy up to nine weeks of gestation.

The Spin

Narrative A

The approval of the abortion pill gives women an alternative to end a pregnancy; however, women are still denied the right to make decisions about their bodies since they can only receive an abortion if the pregnancy significantly damages their physical and financial health or if they become pregnant due to rape. Moreover, pricing and consent rules cast a shadow over the decision and limit access to safe abortion.

Narrative B

While the prevalence of a few hindrances cannot be denied, and even if it reflects Japanese society's deeply embedded patriarchal norms, the move is a cause for celebration as it makes painless and safe abortion more accessible to thousands of Japanese women.

Narrative C

The decision comes when the country faces one of the world’s major demographic crises, with annual births dipping below 800K for the first time in 2022. If you make it easier for women to have abortions, the number of women choosing to end their pregnancy will naturally increase — further perpetuating population decline.

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