Saturday, April 26, 2008

Women's Rights Under Attack Everywhere

Both sides of the Atlantic women's reproductive rights are under fire at the moment. In the Us I was horrified to read that women in Oklahoma who wish to have an abortion will be subjected to compulsory ultrasounds - in some cases vaginal ultrasound. Now I have a word for someone who puts something into a woman's vagina without her consent: RAPIST. And by my definition that state of Oklahoma right now fits that definition. Sadly I don't know what people can do to try to fight this new law aside fromt he usual letter-writing and generally making a fuss.

In the UK however we can see the next assault on women's reproductive rights coming and we can do something. It seems that the Human Cloning and Embryology Bill is likely to have an amendment proposed which would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks (the current limit is 24 weeks). And we can definitely do something to prevent this going through. Abortion Rights are organising a mass lobby of parliament. It's on May 7th and if you'd like to be involved you can. Here's what to do: Firstly check out the information here. Secondly drop your MP a line telling them you'll be at the mass lobby and asking for an appointment to speak to them. You could actually be speaking to your MP in parliament about this issue. That has to have an impact, so please join us if you can. I am currently volunteering some of my time to help the team out with preparation for this one. Do let me know if you know of people or groups who would like more info who might consider coming along, we want to make a really big impact.


Anna said...

Oh Oklahoma! Yes - it's a catastrophe on this side of the Atlantic. Many of us are holding our breathes so hard we are turning blue - desperately hoping that when the Clinton/Obama slugfest is over we can still get a democrat into the White House - if not Roe v. Wade very well may fall. This is a genuine nightmare brewing. Many feminist issues are waning over here but non more so than reproductive rights.

Sorry to learn the UK is similarly struggling.

Depresso said...

Reading something (probably the Curvature) recently - Cara made a point in discussing 'late' abortions and a legal case in Kansas (some bunch of Christians fundies want to access the medical records of over 2,000 women who had late-term terminations for who know s what inane reason). She pointed out that nearly all of those women would quite likely have initially desired to carry the fetus to full term and give birth to a happy, healthy baby. However, the fetues may have had fatal complications and no quality of life. Cara was far more succinct.

Anyway, the thing about late-term abortions is that banning them will hurt women how initially wanted their child far more than the mythic hordes of irresponsible young girls who use abortion as contraception.

Cruella said...

Fetal abnormalities and health risks to mother and fetus are actually not at stake here - they're covered by a different law in the UK.

Late term abortions are few and far between. Common reasons are:

1) Women who don't realise they're pregnant earlier. Due to being very young, menopausal or using contraceptives properly and, as happens in some pregnancies, experiencing few pregnancy symptoms.

2) Victims of rape, sexual abuse and difficult family circumstances who have realised they're pregnant earlier but gone into denial about it.

3) Women whose situation has changed, such as a relationship ending or domestic violence starting. Pregnancy is one of the most likely times in a woman's life for her to experience domestic violence.

4) Delays in providing an abortion. One in ten GPs in the UK "conscientiously objects" to provision of abortion services. In theory they should refer to someone who will provide, but many put up obstacles to doing so. Service providers often are over-booked and for those who cannot afford to pay privately for their terminations can end up becoming a late-term abortion despite requesting a termination much earlier.