Let’s be serious for a moment. If you can stand it, I’m getting up on my soapbox again, and as usual, it’s feminism I’m talking about. It’s become a bit of buzz-word again, which is great if it raises awareness, but not so great when it’s due to a sneak attack on women’s rights.
I’m guessing most of you are aware of the insane situation in America at the moment when it comes to abortions. If you’re not, here’s a brief summary of what’s been going down. Abortion is legal in America, and has been since 1973, after the case of Roe vs Wade, which placed abortion under the right to privacy. A woman’s body is her own, so with her right to privacy, she can do what she chooses with it, including abortion. But gradually, little pieces of legislation have been brought in that make actually getting an abortion much harder in a lot of states. Women have to jump through hoops first, see an ultrasound, a counsellor, have her baby described to her by a doctor…
Some abortion providers found themselves being told exactly how big a consultation room had to be and how many janitors cupboards they had to have. They were given a weekend to comply. Those that didn’t were shut down.
And then there was the funding row for Family Planning.
So what does this have to do with me, you wonder. Well, there seems to be a sneak attack beginning in Britain. Conserative MP Nadine Dorries is building some hoops of her own. She suggests that women would have to see an independent counsellor before being allowed an abortion, rather than the current counsellor provided by her abortion provider. At first, this sounds harmless, but on closer inspection, it really isn’t.
It leaves room for anti-choice or faith based counselling to be offered, and pushes back abortion rights by wrapping them in red tape. By slipping in these road blocks, abortion becomes a harder thing to have, and eventually you end up with a situation like that of the USA. Luckily, these proposals were rejected, but I think women need to be aware that this attack on their rights was made. Knowledge is the best weapon here. If enough of us are aware of this possibility and are saying no loudly enough, we can protect a woman’s right to choose.
Nadine Dorries, by the way, who claims to be pro-choice, also tried to ban high heels in the work-place and campaigned for school girls to be taught abstinence.
Abortion needs to be available (regulated, of course) or we go back to a world of back-street abortions. In Northern Ireland, where abortions are very hard to obtain, women either spend a huge amount of money to come here for them, or risk buying abortion drugs online. 67, 000 women die every year after an unsafe abortion. Let’s not have any of them in the UK.