Opinion Piece: Why We Must Take Abortion Rights Seriously

Is the world growing more aggressive toward women?

BY Farzaneh Pishro

When Donald Trump reinstated a gag rule, eschewing the discussion of abortion by US-funded groups, he once again showed the world that he is anti-feminist and has predetermined, unjust doctrines about the role of women. His act was not entirely unexpected, given his obstinate, conservative nature.

In a nutshell, the gag rule forces health care providers that receive funding from the US to withhold complete reproductive health care from women. This essentially means the rule leads to an increase in unsafe abortions, at the ultimate cost of women’s lives, and is precisely why Obama lifted the gag rule when he took the Presidential office in 2009.

However, a fair proportion of both Americans and global citizens support this legislation. Why? Is the world growing more aggressive toward women? Are we experiencing a regression to a more primitive world, where the alpha male rules and subjugates women? Or rather, a regression to a state at which we had not yet developed the kind of social infrastructure that supports women against sexist- and indeed, dangerous- laws?

According to the British Abortion Act, Women gained the right for abortion first in 1967. The Act legalized abortions by registered practitioners. It mostly included cases of maternal life, mental health, rape and fetal defects. But there are other cases- for example, the many women who is simply feel unprepared for mothering their baby. It is women’s bodies and lives we are talking about; so women must have the choice to decide whether they want to have a baby now, or later, or never. Moreover, there is no doubt that the mental health of the mother is crucial for the baby- motherhood is a concept laced with love and affection. No one wants to be born feeling unwanted for their entire life. Therefore, with its deterministic logic, the gag rule only hurts the mental caliber of women burdened with a responsibility they did not ask for- and the children resulting from it.

The general consensus is that it goes against humanism to force victims of rape to keep and raise the baby of a man they can only remember with hatred and disgust. It is also unacceptable to forbid a girl too young to become a mother from aborting the foetus. But in addition to all this, there must be a freedom of choice for women in general.

Banning abortion is an expression of irreverence to all women, since it limits their choices and determines their lives. Trump’s act cannot be read in any way other than anti-feminist. While it seems the rights of women are being questioned more in the United States, aggression to women’s rights has not increased drastically world-wide.

Fortunately, in Australia abortion remains legal in order to protect the lives and health of the women. Western Australian law is technically pro-choice in that it allows abortions within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Proponents argue that the life of a human being starts only after the first five months. In this region, there have been successful attempts to make abortion more accessible for those people who really need it, especially cases in which delivering a baby would harm the mother’s mental, social or physical health.

Hopefully, these attempts will lead more women to be able to make active choices for their lives and to protect their rights all across the globe.

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