With the President of United States Donald Trump wanting to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which bars international NGOs that perform or promote abortions from receiving US Government funding, an important agenda in the list of women rights’ activist has taken a whole new meaning. The White House Press released a photograph of the President signing the executive action on Monday which showed him surrounded by white men, triggering another set of debates about the functioning of the new government. In light of these developments, here’s a blog on why abortion rights are important for women.
Pro-choice and not Pro-life
It is no secret that pregnancy sets in motion multiple changes in the life and body of a female. It’s easy for a group of men to decide whether a woman should carry the fetus in her womb or not but is it really for them to decide when they are the least affected by the situation? Whenever the topic of abortion rights comes up, two most significant terms that come up are Pro-life (those that oppose abortion), and Pro-choice (those that believe that it is a matter of choice). For a woman who isn’t ready to bring up a child in her current routine for whatever reason, how is forcing them to have one ‘pro-life’ in its literal terms? If the unborn child won’t get the atmosphere that he/she needs to grow up into a healthy and sound human how will the government’s decision be of help to them? Policies such as these are based only on the bigoted beliefs of those who are too blind to see how advanced and different the society has grown from the 18th century where they are still stuck.
A Right and Not a Privilege
Since ancient times various methods have been used to perform an abortion, although it sure wasn’t considered a choice for women back then. Things have changed since the times when Romans were enemies of the Greeks. Prohibiting a woman the right to decide what she can and cannot do to her body is taking away the most basic of her freedom and turning them into slaves of the patriarchal system. Forcing the “unwilling to bear the unwanted,” takes America and the whole world back to the days where savagery of slavery still persisted in the society. If it starts with the government taking control of the rights that we have on our own body where does it end? What happens to the multitude of rights around the world that are not being extended to women, if their decisive powers over what happens to their own body are lost? Will everything soon turn into a privilege for us based on the whims of a few fortunate yet arrogant men of power?
Equality and Not Privacy
Many so-called Pro-choicers get it wrong when they argue that banning a woman’s right to get an abortion will have no effect for they will get it illegally done, or that it is a matter of privacy, for this right goes beyond these notions. The right to decide whether a woman wants a child or not gives her unprecedented control over her future, as they can commit to all the things they want without worrying about an accidental pregnancy that would derail them for life, an argument which was made by long-time abortion rights activist, Katha Pollitt. By letting a woman take control of her own body, we let her seek all that she desires in life, the same way men do. Most Pro-life supporters are actually those who believe in that stereotypical image of an ideal woman for whom, it’s more important to be a mother than seeking education; whose dreams and aspirations to leave a mark on this world are insignificant compared to her ‘natural’ role of life-giver; and that her ability to incubate a fetus trumps all other contributions that she can make to the society.
A Ban only makes things Worse
The abortion rates in China sky-rocketed when the One Child Policy was implemented in 1979 and not all these abortions were carried out legally. Banning the right to seek an abortion is not going to stop people from getting it done, but it will only revert them to illegal and unhealthy ways. In an attempt to look for alternate ways of getting an abortion with the safe routes being closed, there are more chances of increased mortality and infections among women. Whatever tax-payers dollars the Trump Government is trying to save will go down the drain as this move will increase corruption and expand the black market trade in their own country which will lead to more damage than before. By standing up for and supporting the Pro-life stance, the government is only making things worse for the citizens of its country, for there will be many who would risk their lives for the lifestyle they want.
Quality of Life
Living cannot be equated with survival. For a single woman who cannot even support herself, pregnancy would mean hardships and not joy. For a teenager who is still in school, a pregnancy would mean the end of all her dreams. For a woman whose married life is a burden, pregnancy means eternal ties to that life of misery. Many would think that pregnancy can be avoided in all the scenarios I mentioned above but the truth is most of the times it can’t be helped. Even a child born into all these situations will curse his/her own existence and their parents for giving birth to them. What they will be unaware of is the fact that the government rendered their parents helpless by making bigoted policies in the so-called ‘advanced age’. Only a mother who is dedicated towards her child can give them the life they need and deserve. For this to happen, she needs to feel ready for the responsibilities that come along with motherhood and embrace them with all her will. Anything short of this is a punishment to both the woman and her unborn children.
The issue of abortion rights has far-reaching implications because we are all in this together. We might try to avoid what has happened in the United States by thinking that its effects won’t be felt in our part of the globe. Yet what needs to be realized is that if super-powers and modernized civilizations like that of the West initiate such actions, the governments of the developing nations will have no one to stop them from doing the same. With so many issues in the Women Rights agendas still unheard in most parts of the world, the last thing these movements need is the existing rights to be banished. If it starts here where does it end? What will satisfy the Male Chauvinists of this world? Rather than moving forward are we going back to where we started from, or does worse await the future generations? These are all questions that only time can answer, however, what we can do is make sure that we don’t find those answers by working to make things better for us and those that will come ahead of us. Voices need to be raised and made heard if we want to change the face of this world.