We are living in the twenty-first century. However, recent debates around abortion are making it difficult to believe we have moved on or have learnt from history, or if people will ever have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies.
As you may have heard, a few weeks ago in the American courts, the decision was made to overturn Roe v Wade, which had allowed and protected a pregnant person’s liberty to have an abortion. Further analysis showed that at least 26 US states are certain or are very likely to ban abortions now that this decision has been overturned. Oklahoma will be seen as having the strictest laws, banning abortion from the moment of ‘fertilisation.’
After years and years of fighting for women to have a choice in what they do with their bodies, it almost seems like it was all for nothing. Everyone should be free to live their lives as they see fit. Forcing someone to have a child against their will is ludicrous. Only they can decide whether or not they want to be responsible for a child.
However, this is not only a case for the U.S. but a global issue that needs to be put to rest. This debate is one that has dragged along for decades through various countries and needs to be finalised. People have a right to their own autonomy with what they do with their body. Forcing someone to have a child is harmful for the person carrying the child as well as the child themselves, who may not have a safe and caring environment that they should be receiving.
The question most frequently discussed is, what exactly is the goal of this overturn – because abortions will still occur. Making them illegal will only increase the likelihood of people trying to find other ways to terminate pregnancies or helplessly take birth control measures that are unsafe and untested. This, being on top of a healthcare system that already systematically discriminates against POC and women to begin with, is just a layer of catastrophe waiting to happen.
All the light seems to be on an unborn fetus that would not have existed less than a short time ago. And even after that ‘child’ is brought into the world, the government seems to have no role in providing them with a ‘life worth living’ as there is no improvement in healthcare, childcare, infant products, adoption facilities, foster care, orphanage facilities and so on.
It is understandable that at times like this we feel helpless and defeated, like our voice doesn’t matter and that we cannot make a change. But that is not the case. Last Saturday, we saw thousands (with many more across the globe throughout the week) rise to rally and support the necessity of abortion rights and women’s autonomy. The key message is sweet and simple: BACK OFF! There is no place for laws in what a pregnant person should or should not do with their body and it is completely their decision.
Article written by Nishtha Sharma