Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35 years on Roe V. Wade, Global Reproductive Rights

Today 22 January 2008 marks 35 years since the Roe v. Wade decision on reproductive privacy and abortion in the USA. Unfortunately, access to safe and legal abortions as well as women's control over their own bodies and reproduction has been a contested terrain in the USA as well as elsewhere. Various state legislatures, court decisions, and various federal mandates have affected women's access to abortion and birth control around the world--as in the last 24 years (except during the Clinton years) international family planning & women's organizations have had their U.S. federal funds & grants restricted by the gag rule, instituted during Reagan-Bush1-Bush2 --unless the programmes actively opposed abortions and related activities. In turn, we got the failed abstinence policies and programmes and & even less access to safe and effective birth control!

For those in USA and other countries with safe-legal abortions that have come of sexual age-activities that might lead to the risk of pregnancy since 1973, all of us have taken for granted that we would have access-choice. Others remember life (and loss of lives pre-Roe). Still millions of women in other countries have never had access to such safe reproductive choices, but rely on unsafe procedures in unlicensed clinics and/or folk remedies/desperate measures and higher levels of maternal mortality. Pictures of dead women who died from a Drano and/or coathanger abortions remain seared in my memory. Other women lack even the ability to dissolve abusive marriages as in the Philippines much less having control over their reproductive lives and ability to use birth control and make reproductive choices.

Or Liza at Culturekitchen offers her thoughts on outsourced births or where women surrogates in India and other countries in the South carry-bear babies for affluent women in the North and/or the South.

Many blogs have marked this day with commentary and links. AlterNet has a extensive and thoughtful list of posts on reproductive justice & gender.

My favorite photo appeared in Feministe:

Time for more Jezebels and others to step forward and speak up for safe reproductive choices and lives for women around the world!

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