On the 28th of September, the Amnesty International Student Association of Malmö University hosted a movie screening about the fight for safe abortion rights in Ireland, since the date also hallmarks the international day of safe abortions. The association made use of the occasion to remind people all over the world of women’s reproductive rights.
Additionally to the movie screening, a song written by Robin Atiken about “the legality of abortion” was performed. The song renders facts that can be found on the official website of Amnesty International and it constitutes a display of circumstances and reality for women across the globe.
The lyrics are presented below:
The legality of abortion is seen as somewhat crude
but listen as I sing, it will help you out dude
A quarter of pregnancies,
end in this procedure
So take that at your leisure.
If safety’s your worry then listen don’t hurry
25 million unsafe abortions,
Are done each year
This whole issue brings me a harsh tear
It it were safe,
Women would be saved
Are you hearing me quite clear?
A medical error called
the “chilling effect”
Where the line of abortion is not
Post abortion care goes down
That makes all of us some clowns
If you shun the operation
A stigma will be the occasion
Our culture will be shamed
And we’ll all be to blame
It’s a woman’s right.
If you disagree you can choose as you please.
People are delusional, when they think we have already achieved equality in regards to the sexes. This is not the case and the world still struggles to change old patriarchal patterns towards equity and equality for all. Even as recently as 2020, reproductive rights remain a major element in women’s fight for equality in multiple countries across the globe.
As depicted in the movie “When Women Won”, Ireland has just allowed the right for safe and legal abortions in 2018, which is only two years ago. Before that, women had to travel to England, literally cross a country border, to receive a safe abortion and be able to decide over their own body and their reproductive rights. The referendum which was adopted on the 28th of May 2018, granted the repeal of the almost constitutional abortion ban.
This illustrates that the world is very far from the progress women’s rights advocates aspire to see. Literal baby steps are taken in regard to women’s reproductive rights, because Ireland is not the only country which is late in history. The USA, for example has shown in the last couple of years that history can also go backwards in its timeline, when a couple of states, e.g. Virginia, decided to ban abortions and to deem it illegal. When this did not work out completely, the state aggravated its abortion laws, which made it a lot harder for women to seek an abortion when needed.
However, Virginia was eventually sued over their unfair abortion laws by Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. The lawsuit considered the following laws as “burdensome and medically unnecessary”:
- Second trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital;
- Abortions must only be performed by a physician;
- Medical facilities providing more than four first trimester abortions per month must undergo strict licensing requirements;
- Patients must undergo an ultrasound and counseling 24 hours before an abortion, requiring them to make two trips to a clinic; and
- Abortion is a class 4 felony if the requirements are not followed
The plaintiffs claimed that “the Commonwealth of Virginia has spent over four decades enacting layer upon layer of unnecessary and onerous abortion statutes and regulations.”
The list goes on: El Salvador and Nicaragua, in Central America, still enforce discriminatory laws that ban abortions in almost all conditions. More than 40% of the world’s women in childbearing age live in countries where, abortion is medically either very restricted, not accessible at all or banned and illegal, with partly grave penalties as a result of violation of the law.
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Victoria Pickering, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0