New laws, new restrictions, new wins, new bans and new punishments only directed towards womxn, It’s like sleeping with one eye open.
In recent time the United States of America has decided to take a new approach on infringing on the autonomy and rights of womxn, the stricter laws and government policies came right up after the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court, quite expected if you ask me. After being accused of rape and getting away with it, the best thing you feel to contribute is to make laws that reject family planning, planned parenthood and deny womxn total control of themselves. In the U.S. over the course of 2018, 15 states adopted 27 new restrictions on abortion and family planning 23 of these seek to restrict abortion and the remaining four are aimed at family planning providers, (see; State Policy Trends 2018: With Roe v. Wade in Jeopardy, States Continued to Add New Abortion Restrictions) Truth is I don’t want to really speak on the planned parenthood and abortion policy going on in America but one thing’s for sure, the Supreme Court has been corrupted with conservative men who hate womxn and are using their place in government to oppress and shit on the rights of womxn, this includes the white, black, disabled and womxn in the lgbtq community. The need for abortion isn’t just for cis-womxn and the need for reproductive health care isn’t just for heterosexual womxn, the more restrictions and rules, the harder it is for marginalized groups to access health care and this includes less options for black womxn, disabled womxn, queer womxn, trans womxn and trans men. (See;Racism, ADOS and African American Women and Health Care Disparities among LGBT)
South Korea has decided to review and change its abortion policy after 66 year ban, a great win for the womxn of South Korea. Previously in South Korea, getting an abortion and getting caught could cost you two million won ($1780) and a year in jail whereas the practitioner would be given two years of jail time, deciding to get an abortion and going through with it is one type of guilt on its own then having the law demand you do prison time for not wanting to keep a baby is very distasteful. I’m just glad that the womxn of South Korea have been given this win, it was said that the pressure to reform abortion policies built up domestically and internationally after receiving inspiration from the Ireland’s landslide vote a country where the stringently anti-choice Catholic Church has far more influence. When I saw this news I really was happy about it and I wished the same for countries in Africa like Nigeria. Abortion in Nigeria is governed by two laws that differ depending on geographical location; Northern Nigeria is governed by The Penal Code and southern Nigeria is governed by The Criminal Code and the only legal way to have an abortion in Nigeria is if having the child is going to put the mother’s life in danger, having an abortion in Nigeria can guarantee you 7 years in prison while the practitioner would be given a sentence of 14 years, you would think with Nigeria having one of the most restrictive laws that the womxn and practitioners would be scared of carrying out these abortions but the truth is, the restriction has just made it worse and the number of womxn who want abortions keep increasing. Unsafe abortions in Nigeria is the second leading cause of maternal death with 40% of womxn having died during getting one or after, Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, and little has been done to improve this problem in recent years. It would’ve been one thing if Nigeria banned abortions while making contraceptions readily available and inexpensive but that’s far from the issue, the use of contraceptives in Nigeria remains very low with only 16% of womxn (15-49) using it in 2013 and 11% using other modern methods and this percentage has been unchanged since 2008.
“In spite of Nigeria’s highly restrictive abortion law, an estimated 1.25 million induced abortions occurred in 2012. The number doubled from an estimated 610,000 in 1996 because of both population growth and an increase in the rate of abortion.“
The lack of access and provision of proper Sex-Ed and Family Planning is the first step in wanting to reduce abortion rates in Nigeria and preserving the lives of womxn in Nigeria, denying womxn access to abortions without providing accessible and free contraceptives isn’t going to change anything with preserving the lives of womxn, in Nigeria, not only do the womxn lack access to legally induced abortions they also lack proper reproductive health care, rather the government (local, state and federal) do anything about it, they’re focusing on controlling the bodies of womxn. According to BMC research notes, in the South western and North central part of Nigeria, access to free maternal health care excludes womxn who have never given birth because only the views and experiences of womxn who have given birth are relevant to evaluating maternal outcomes. If there is no access to reproductive healthcare to womxn without children, how then would those womxn be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the need for abortions.
Seventy-seven percent of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant.
—Planned Parenthood Ad
In the past few months I’ve been reaching out to womxn concerning the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movement which focuses on more than the reproductive rights of womxn but has its major conversations on abortion rights. Here are the reasons why a few womxn are Pro-Life:
- I support pro life ’cause I feel abortion is as equal as killing a normal grown human only for the fact that the foetus is still developing inside the uterus of the woman. Hence, I’ll advice that they prevent pregnancy while exercising their sexual desires with their partner. Abortion has so much after effects, some may die, some may loose their womb due to damages and infection. ~Funke.
- I’m pro-life because despite the circumstances of conception, it’s not the little one’s fault and in cases like rape,counselling should be the first option rather than abortion. ~Emoovo.
- I’m pro-life because of the silence around coerced abortions and gender selective abortions, I want women to know that they have other options beyond abortion and they shouldn’t be forced into getting one if they don’t want it. ~Zhay.
- I’m pro-life because a child is a blessing and nota curse, regardless of its conception, it should be given a chance into the world. ~Soph.
Sadly, I didn’t get enough responses from the people who are pro-life and I took some from old comments people had posted on my page and on that of others. As for those in support of pro-choice, here’s a list on why they’re pro-choice:
- I am pro-choice mainly because becoming a mum is serious life altering and unimaginably demanding business and as such must be taken up willingly and not as the consequence of being without choice. It’s just wrong to sit in our homes and make the choice of bringing another human into this messed up world when we have no direct connection to ensure the wellbeing of this tiny human and the one person who does has no say in the matter. I am of the opinion that there should be free therapy for women who for any reason want to or had to abort. Therapy should prepare them for the abortion and walk them through the aftermath. ~Eze.N
- I’m pro-choice because I believe women should have the freedom to decide what happens with their body. Making abortions illegal only increases the risk of something going wrong, because whether it’s legal or not, women will continue to seek abortions. ~Marise.
- Pro choice because women can do whatever they want with and to their bodies. ~Biliquis.
- Why bring a child you have no idea of taking care of in this world? Bringing a child into this world should be my choice and yes, there’s adoption but who’s going to pay me for the 9 months that I dedicated my body and health to it? ~Anonymous.
- I’m pro-choice because the world is overpopulated and humans ruin everything. ~Clara.
If there’s anything we’ve noticed about the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice debates is that the conversation all boils down to pro/anti-abortion and allowing/restricting the rights of people especially womxn. The pro-life spectrum talks about the preservation of all life regardless of the quality of that life, conception, human morality, influence of religion and all that concerns life. I believe the pro-life movement talks about fighting to live and being alive no matter the circumstances and never giving up on life even when life doesn’t give you positive feedback, this looks like a great thing if you think about it, fighting to live even when you can’t see yourself living, but what I see from the pro-life movement is only fighting for the rights of potential/non people to live without paying attention to the quality of life being lived. According to the Roman Catholic Church, pro-life prohibits;
- The death penalty.
- War, with very few exceptions.
- Religion and Morality.
In the Roman Catholic Church, abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Since the first century the church has labeled the need for an abortion to be a grave sin and morally evil, the church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life, from the first moment of it’s existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person among which is the inviolable rights of every innocent being to life. The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, in procuring an abortion you are indeed committing murder in the sight of the Catholic and Christian God but here’s the thing, are both gods going to help take care of the baby? Are they going to come for the doctor’s appointment and provide 50% of the source of income that the baby would need to survive on? Are they going to pay the womxn for the 9 months she dedicated her time and body to the baby’s development? If not, they both should take several seats (See; Catechism of the Catholic Church )
Euthanasia is what we call mercy killing, assisted suicide or quietus, it can be given to people who are dying from a debilitating disease or suffering from an ongoing pain and it’s purpose is to allow the ill be able to decide on how they want to take￼ charge of their lives and how they would like to die rather than forcing them to be alive or remaining in a vegetative state. The purpose is to end suffering and give the patients a permanent last wish regarding their health. (See; Euthanasia) Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who was imprisoned for assisting in suicides, believed that to prolong the suffering of a terminally ill person is immoral and the dying person should be the one to decide when it is time for his or her life to end. I’ve put these links so you all can do your extensive personal research on these topics. I had a discussion with a pro-lifer who said that she was pro-life because of the womxn who were coerced and forced into getting an abortion because they felt that they had no other option. This is fine because that should be what the pro-life movement should be about, giving womxn options, access to their rights and having them decide on what they feel is best for them but when we look at the bigger picture, what we see is other men and womxn coming into the faces of womxn to decide what they think they know is best for them. To be pro-life should also include the existing life (the womxn) life after birth, the quality of life (poverty, black womxn, queer womxn, disabled womxn), it should be community (pro-therapy, access to improved healthcare, child support, quality education and good paying jobs), it should be anti-capitalism (refusing to allow the rich oppress and exploit the poor). It should be about fighting for the living, if the lives of womxn were of quality and they knew that they had nothing to lose with a child in the picture, the rate of abortions (legal/illegal) and maternal morality rates would reduce.
The purpose of writing this article was to talk about the bigoted men forcing themselves into spaces for womxn, stealing from womxn, controlling the reproductive rights of womxn and other womxn thinking they have the right to impose their beliefs on other womxn. The constant need to restrict, withdraw and punish womxn is solely to control their sexuality, vaginas and hymen.
The idea behind the pro-choice movement is based on humans being capable and allowed to possess autonomy over themselves with respect to their reproductive system as far as it doesn’t affect the autonomy of others. The pro-choice spectrum focuses on;
- Celibacy and Abstinence.
- Comprehensive sex education.
- The use of contraceptives.
- Emergency contraception use.
The Pro-Choice movement isn’t just about being pro-abortion and the so-called disregarding human life but it is about allowing people determine what they feel is the best option for themselves regarding their bodies and their life. You can share the values of pro-choice and pro-life but it all comes down to allowing and respecting people’s choices for their bodies. You don’t just tell a chronic smoker to stop smoking without providing reasons, a form of education and rehab centres for them to deal with their struggle and that’s what the pro-choice movement is about, it’s not forcing you to stop smoking without reason but trying to give you choices and options on how to stop it and hoping that you would come around to decide what is best for you.
I’d rather have my DNA nonexistent than to be treated mercilessly at the hands of another or not treated at all.
I’ve been pro-choice for most of my life and this started from how I saw my mom talk about getting married early, having kids early and putting the big things she wanted in her life on pause, I do not know if my mother wanted an abortion or not but all I know is how having children in the picture interfered with her dreams and aspirations. I know some people would want to disagree with me and claim that children are always a blessing and gift but the truth is not all womxn want the gift, some may never want it and others might want it later and when this gift is the one that needs to be taken care of, looked after, it’s definitely going to become a burden and an unwanted gift. I have seen great womxn and teenage girls become pregnant, give birth and lose their dream because of the child in the picture and because they had no option, in Nigeria, when a womxn/girl becomes pregnant without a husband, they’re forced into having the children or getting married to the father of the child either to avoid bringing shame to the family or as a means of punishment for having sex and becoming pregnant, the forcing girls and womxn into birthing children is to show the community and constantly remind you of the shame you brought and the failure that you are. Pro-choice is a saving grace for womxn who want an abortion because they want to be able to chase their dreams without thinking of the children they need to look after and the quality of life they can end up with, it is about caring for the life of the person existing rather than the one that is yet to exist. How do the girls and womxn who are forced into having and keeping the children they do not want supposed to feel? You can say that with therapy and counselling they can overcome the stigma, shame and build their confidence but that sort of punishment is a permanent scar.
I became pro-choice because I like options and I like myself a lot, becoming (being) pro-choice wasn’t (isn’t) 100% tied to just showing up for other womxn and fighting for their own autonomy, it is also about fighting for myself and knowing that the option to abort a pregnancy or more would always be available to me. I do not want to have children and if I ever reconsider this, I most definitely will not be having the child with my body. The stages of pregnancy isn’t just grand, it is scary as well as depressing and the change to the body can be permanent. During the first stages of pregnancy which is the first trimester, womxn experience extreme fatigue, tender and swollen breasts, nausea, vomiting and the baby weighs about an ounce and is about 3 inches long. The second stage which is the second trimester of the pregnancy includes mild swelling of the ankles and feet, leg cramps, congestion, achiness in the lower abdomen, varicose veins and hemorrhoids and here the baby weighs 2-3 pounds and is 13-16 inches long, during this process womxn have their bodies being stretched out to create room for the babies in their body. The third stage of the pregnancy which it the third trimester includes constipation, heartburn, indigestion, stretch marks, leaky breasts, difficulty in breathing, contractions. This is what happens to the bodies of womxn physically but what about our mental and emotional state? well, it gets worse! Childbirth is said to be the second worst pain in the world any human being can experience and some womxn break their tailbone during childbirth, we also have vagina tears which in a 3/4 the grade tear will have your anus torn. I think I’ll pass.
Womxn die like cows on the operation table during their childbirth and as a developed country, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate and it keeps increasing with 50% of black womxn dying during childbirth. We often see the glamourized sides of pregnancy where the mom keeps tearing up about the baby kicking and selecting baby clothing and that’s as deep as it gets. While some of this can be preventable, others are not and can be there for a lifetime, I know some of you would ask why I’m going in depth with pregnancy and I’ve mentioned the reasons why, I do not want to experience the stages of pregnancy neither do I want the labour, the postpartum depression, short term amnesia and loss of hair that comes with it. I don’t need it. Legally induced abortions are said to be 72 times safer than childbirth so I’d pick that any day over childbirth and pregnancy. I’m a selfish person meaning I put myself first and putting myself first is a reason as to why I’m pro-choice. I don’t want to ruin my body neither do I want the responsibility and burden that comes with pregnancy.
If you’ve noticed, up until now I haven’t mentioned the role men play in trapping womxn with babies and abandoning them after and I’m not going to really speak on that but I’ll be writing a piece on it. Another reason why I’m pro-choice is because I feel having children and introducing more people to the planet is selfish, you’re bringing more people to corrupt the earth, more people to ruin nature, more people to pollute the world, more people to live in misery, more people to overpopulate the earth and I think it’s selfish. Of course, I can’t force you not to give birth neither can I force you to adopt but it is selfish of you to introduce more people into the world instead of adopting a child, loving and saving an already existing child who is a person. I’ve never seen myself as a save the planet type of person but when I read about the planet, climate change and population control, I’m moved to do the little I can to save it. (See;Baby Emissions Fuel Global Warming) This right here doesn’t mean that you have to abort every pregnancy, it just means that you’re going to have to up your knowledge on the use of birth control and ￼contraceptives, for womxn like me, I don’t take the pill and I don’t have an IUD neither do I intend to use any, I think the person who should be and is responsible for pregnancy is men and I place all the responsibility on them, the only thing I can contribute to is purchasing the condoms and picking the type of men to sleep with. No womxn gets pregnant from having an orgasm, the only time womxn get pregnant is with men and their sperm so no! I think there’s so much focus on womxn being responsible for getting pregnant so ALL forms of birth control is placed on their shoulders whereas the carriers of the pregnancy are allowed to live and have sex freely without having to worry about being on the pill and how their bodies and hormones react to it. Do you know why I can’t recommend that womxn stop using the pill? because if you do get pregnant you’re definitely not sharing the responsibility of carrying the child in your womb with the man, it’s a pain and solo sport only you can participate in. (See;Men Cause 100% of Unwanted Pregnancies) Please protect yourselves and if you’re going to do what I do that’s all on you.
The problem with being pro-life is that the focus on the movement is majorly about forcing womxn to give birth without campaigning for the rights to better healthcare and improved sex education, if anything, pro-lifers should consist of more people who actually care about the health and quality of life of these womxn rather than unqualified bigoted men who use the scriptures in their bible and qurans to determine the rights that should be given to womxn. It is very easy for the men in government to sit comfortably and deny womxn access to reproductive healthcare without thinking about the implications for the womxn and possible children because it doesn’t matter to them, the men and womxn who go to abortion clinics and spew hateful garbage towards the womxn do not care about the womxn’s life neither do they care for the foetuses because if they did, more people would be willing to just drop off the baby at the orphanage homes but seeing how the children in the homes are cared for, it’s no shocker why womxn would rather have an abortion than adoption. (See; Languishing in Foster Care) I really don’t want to start a conversation on the foster care system in developing and underdeveloped countries so we’re saving that for another day.
Abortion is no easy walk in the￼ park but I’d rather it be my first choice than adoption.
Celibacy and abstinence are both the best forms of avoiding pregnancy but they shouldn’t be the only birth control method emphasized on just like we say ‘no is no’ shouldn’t be the only discussion about consent, we should talk about sex, how to engage in sex, condoms, birth control pills, tubal ligation, vasectomy, male birth control and other methods of having safe and pregnancy free sex.
I saw this image on the internet alongside many more that tried to show the pro-life and pro-choice movement going at it with each other and most of the cartoons depicted the pregnant womxn as silent while everyone spoke about how they felt, this image shows the pregnant lady’s opinion not even worthy of being acknowledged so in all honesty, the only person that should and is capable of knowing what the right and best option is for themselves is the carrier of the possible life. It is not about the opinions of pro-lifers forcing the womxn to have the baby, it’s about the womxn having the choice to keep the possible life or not.
I would be making a part two on this to talk about men trapping womxn with pregnancies, lack of child support in Nigeria and other African countries as well as teenage pregnancy, child abuse and being a single mom.
Thanks for reading!
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