Sex & Life
Sex & Life June 29, 2017
While the rest of the world moves forwards, the US seems to regress.
As the United Kingdom is making “landmark” strides towards improving women’s rights, the United States is reverting to misogynist, borderline Neanderthal treatment of women.
But abortion laws around the world vary, and currently in England, abortions are not only legal, but they are free. Yes, you did read that correctly. In England, a woman’s abortion is paid for by the National Health Services (NHS) if you are a resident of England.
Unfortunately, the law is not the same in the more conservative region of Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, abortion is only legal “if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her physical or mental health. Rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which they can be performed legally.”
Since abortion laws in the UK differ by country (even though all the taxes are paid to the United Kingdom), while abortions are legal in England, they are still illegal in Northern Ireland.
During the Queen’s speech, which lists the laws that the government hopes to get approved by Parliament and marks the beginning of the Parliamentary year, the abortion laws between England and Northern Ireland have been revisited. One of the amendments hopes to allow the NHS to pay for all abortions that take place in England, not just for the residents of England. This would mean that since all residents of the United Kingdom pay the same taxes, women who reside in Northern Ireland could now travel to England to receive free medical termination, which seems fair given the entire UK pays taxes for NHS.
But, as the United Kingdom progresses in their treatment of women, the United States seems to only be moving backwards.
Even though Trump has not officially banned abortions within the US (yet), one of his first actions as president was signing an executive order preventing all non-governmental organizations to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”
This executive order gained even more national attention when a photo of Trump and the other white, male legislators signing the order into effect went viral. Why would a picture of men standing around a desk go viral? We should probably be used to it by now, you know, elitist, caucasian men signing orders to enforce things they themselves know nothing about (and should have absolutely zero authority over).
One of the things men in general should stay out of is what women can and cannot do with their bodies. For some illogical reason, society has given men the right to make decisions about women that have nothing to do with them.
So when President Trump and his delegates gathered ’round to sign an executive order to limit women in their information and access to abortions, the unsettling image of old, white men deciding this for them really hit home for some women (and people in general).
President Trump has also stated that he supports an abortion ban within the United States.
So while we’d like to believe that we live in the country that is the forerunner in innovation, technology and civil rights, our country is actually taking massive steps backwards; and while we still are the leading country in so many ways, how are we letting so many other countries show us up in basic women’s rights?
Even the developing country of Nepal is making moves towards improving their abortion legislation. They have trained abortion providers in all 75 districts, there is a group of 50,000 female health volunteers who can help women facing unplanned pregnancy and abortions are offered in clinics that provide other common services.
Not only have they made abortion more approachable, but they have also made it more accessible by making abortion-inducing pills widely available. They have even trained midwives to administer these pills because doctors are harder to access.
As all of these countries are making abortion a viable and open option to handle unplanned pregnancies, why is the United States moving backwards? As other countries move towards equal rights, why is the United states moving away from women’s rights?
As other countries, even developing countries (with more pressing problems than the US), empower women to make decisions about their own bodies and futures, why is the US trying to take that away from women?
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