26 May LONG READ: ON THE ISSUE OF ABORTION BANS
It is a real wonder that when women come across one another today, they are not offering a ‘commiseratory’ nod or greeting. With all the backwash that has come our way for centuries and especially in the wake of the recent abortion ban across America, one would expect that when a woman sees her fellow ‘comrade’, she gives a salute in the spirit of our collective battle against marginalization. For us women, it always has been one battle after another. Though, it should not always be. One reason may be that some women do not recognize that all other women are kindred spirits and the day we have one voice, is the day we truly overcome. In this year alone, four American states have passed anti-abortion bills, banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Spearheaded by Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins, a female, the state of Alabama faces the most restrictive laws yet and although the laws are yet to be in effect, the bills have been passed and other states are quickly following suit. The tragedy is not in the bias against abortion. The tragedy is in the power of those that support the bias.
For us women, it always has been one battle after another. Though, it should not always be. One reason may be that some women do not recognize that all other women are kindred spirits and the day we have one voice, is the day we truly overcome.
“A woman should have the rights to decide on carrying it to term or not… It’s her body and her pain or joy but then the laws are passed always made by upper class individuals who will always procure abortion for their daughters or wives with ease but make the poor suffer without illegal arrangements.”-Fred Ikhile
Roe v. Wade was a bill passed in the 1973 Supreme Court of the United States prohibiting states from banning abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. In contest of that bill, President Trump and his horde of Republican supporters have taken it into their own hands to ensure that the country remains ‘pro-life’, priding themselves on the sanctity and goodwill of their intentions. Just a few years ago, such bans were considered too extreme even by some anti-abortion groups, considering the many arguments to support the practice and the binding fact that abortion was, and should be, a constitutional right. Before now, abortion rates were not on the rise, in fact, there has been a decline in the rate of abortions owing to a healthy supply and availability of contraceptives. President Trump’s administration has consistently proved that it’s backwards and dictatorial tenure can only bring disharmony and unrest and this is proof.
“Everyone keeps forgetting that the unborn child is no less a human being than the woman, he or she also has the right to live. If the pregnant woman’s mother had aborted her would she be alive to make this nonsense claim, it’s not even a life threatening pregnancy. If you don’t want to it, prevent it. So don’t call it abortion, call it murder.”-Amadi Pius
As with all things that obtain in the modern world and the zeitgeist of the 21st century, America takes a turn and all other nations of the world follow suit. Matters concerning the discrimination of women have been raging for a while now across industries, affecting the high and the lowly. As matters have come to a head with the “Heartbeat” bill, regulatory bodies, women and all well-meaning individuals have come forth to stand against their right to freewill. Other nations of the world have had their fair share of the rule of patriarchy and the gross insubordination of their respective female populace. Some with strong and binding cultural and religious laws and others with an over-inflated sense of moral justice. Suffice to say, there is hardly a place in the world where women are not marginalized. For this reason, this is a collective fight. Not against religion, society or culture. It is simply, a battle of wills. For the freedom of women. For the cause and rights of women. For women.
“It’s a woman’s right”-Olufunke Phillips
Across Africa, the continent where the women’s fate is bleakest and patriarchy is law, societies are erupting in discord as many struggle to emulate America. In Nigeria, following the recent news of America’s abortion bans, a women’s healthcare hospital, Marie Stopes was invaded in Lagos, on the grounds that abortions were being performed there. In Nairobi, Kenya, people marched in their numbers to demonstrate at the Marie Stopes hospital there, protesting against the continued practice of abortions. Objectively, having a different opinion is not the problem. The problem is applying force, brutality, and any sort of injustice to ensure that one preferred opinion becomes a general one. Today’s society targets women, objectifying them as it has always disrespectfully done in the past. Reducing a woman’s body to a cruel debate is just as obtuse as it was a century ago when women were told how to dress and what roles to play. It is an obsolete practice.
It breaks my entire heart. For the past month, if you haven’t felt the real effects that Nigerian women face on a daily basis, then you’re choosing to ignore and you should be worried about your societal orientation. Seemingly, no one gives a crap anymore. From the raids in Abuja where our so called Nigerian Police Force that are meant to protect us (never have by the way) were raping women with pure water sachets as condoms… to every single one of us taking America’s problems as our own and relating Alabama’s sick abortion laws to Nigeria and several misogynistic men and women giving the incomprehensible law approval… and then to @mariestopesbeing shut down in Nairobi and NOW to our security agencies once again thinking they have the right to raid @mariestopesng, stealing confidential information, arresting doctors and attempting to shut the clinic down. I am heart broken. Abortions are a woman’s right and I couldn’t give two craps about your religious views, traditional views or whatever the hell your sick mind wants to call it. How do you explain forcing a woman or a girl child that has been RAPED to keep a pregnancy? Do you know the dangers of child birth or does your sick mind objectify women that much that even women far too young to give birth are just toys and pop outs to you? It is okay not to support abortions, that’s your personal choice and belief. But women who want to have abortions have the RIGHT as their HUMAN RIGHT regardless of your flawed constitutional laws. I’m honestly DISGRACED to be Nigerian for the first time in my life and I’ve been feeling this way for the past few months. We’re no longer safe in hospitals. We’re just hated, as women. Be angry, you have the right to be. As for the so called leaders of this country, fuck each and every single one of you. And trust me, I say that as rawly as possible. The fact that we have to live in a world where men are still making decisions for ya makes me nothing short of SICK. #SAVEMARIESTOPES- Laila Johnson Salami
Objectively, having a different opinion is not the problem. The problem is applying force, brutality, and any sort of injustice to ensure that one preferred opinion becomes a general one.
Even though the heartbeat bills have not yet passed into laws, they are already affecting lives. Patients are reportedly confused and so are not seeking care because they already perceive abortion as illegal and do not want to be in the wrong. Although, the exact parameters have not been set, it is possible that women who miscarry babies may also be prosecuted and investigated until there is proof that she did not abort the fetus. How can a woman who is still experiencing the grief from the loss of her baby be subjected to a murder investigation? Is that not counter-productive? Even worse, the proposed bill also seeks to criminalise the procedure, classifying it as a Class A felony. A prson convicted of an abortion would face up to 99 years in prison. As there are no exceptions even for cases of rape and incest, the bill if passed, will totally objectify the woman in society. At this rate, the woman faces an even longer prison term than her rapist, a fate that is as unfair as the sin committed against her.-
The world seems to be turning on its wheels right back to the times before civilisation all in a bid to avoid giving the woman her rightful place in society. What is so scary about a woman having her say and being in control of her own destiny?Busy Phillips of Busy Tonight is among many individuals of repute who have used their platform to speak out and advocate against the popular bill. Using the hashtag #YouKnowMe in an ad campaign, Busy is encouraging many others who have come forward to share how choosing to have abortions saved their lives or helped shaped them somehow. Ultimately, they are just glad to have had a choice to make.
Women are supposed to make these laws and men should stay out of it completely. A man does not know how a woman feels carrying babies and neither do they know how she conceived the baby in the first place (rape, incest and the rest). It’s very easy to have an opinion when you are not the one directly involved in a crisis situation. How about if the woman is not healthy enough to carry a baby? Should she be punished for not having the right organs to complete the circle. Abortion laws are women’s RIGHTS. Period.-Justis Francis
As women, we have taken different tropes, stigmas, pejorative stereotypes and turned them around for our own good, overcome phases, eras and epochs and here we are still standing. This too shall pass.