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Men all over the world have a belief that they have the right to a woman’s body and what she chooses to do with it. Be it regarding abortions, consensual sex, or even the clothes she chooses to wear. Letting women have autonomy over their own choices has been a difficult thing for men to do since the beginning of time, and if women step out of that glass bottle that they’re put in, they are called various names that shame them for what they do; bitch, slut, feminazi, etc. Although the gravity of the reactions from the society against women, for their choices, vary from country to country, they’re all essentially the same patriarchal hand-me-down rules.
In India, backward-thinking families force women to have abortions if the baby is found to be female, and to prevent this discrimination, most hospitals have banned knowing the gender of the baby before birth. This further leads to female infanticide, which is another problem altogether. The point is, abortion due to the foetus being female is usually the men in the family’s decision, so as to be free from the burden of dowry and extra spendings that a growing girl requires. And it is congratulated and is not deemed wrong by anyone.
At the same time, when it is a woman’s decision to abort a baby; because she isn’t ready to have a baby, for health reasons, for financial reasons or the sex was nonconsensual or premarital, either way, the woman’s decision is condemned, and the act is claimed to be ‘murder.’ This often puts the woman is a tight spot, because even if it is her own body that she’s dealing with, everybody’s opinion must be taken into hand in order to be accepted by the society.
A woman’s body is not a public playground where anyone can choose to say what should be done with it. The conditioned woman succumbs to the society’s treatment of her as property, who cannot make a decision for herself, and goes along for the fear of isolation and exile. This is because abortion is considered evil and taboo. Hilariously, woman making her own decision is also considered taboo, as a ‘good’ woman must always be subservient and obedient to what her husband and his family want her to do.
This kind of taboo against abortion is all somewhat owing to a historical way of thinking. It is assumed by illiterate, or rather, ignorant people that the baby is formed as soon as it’s known that the person is pregnant. So they consider abortion as equal to killing a child, when this is not the case. As of now, a person can abort if the foetus is under 24 weeks. And the fetus only starts to feel pain by 27 weeks. So, the argument that the foetus feels pain when it’s being aborted is a far-fetched lie used by those who are still not willing to give women autonomy over their own bodies.
If transitioning is banned, there won’t be a decrease in the number of transitions, but only an increase in the the number of unsafe transitions. Similarly, banning abortions, like so many people are protesting for, will not put a stop to abortions. It will only create an environment for riskier abortions, in conditions that are subpar and unsafe, with hesitant doctors fearing their lives because what they’re doing is illegal, and high chance of death for the person going through it.
If someone tries to regulate a woman’s body and decisions, it is appropriate to ask them to carry the person’s baby themselves if it is possible, because the emotional and physical exhaustion before and after birth is no joke and if they don’t mind all that mental labour, offer to do it. And if that makes them uncomfortable, it is best to ask them to shut up if there is nothing smart for them to say. Since a woman knows her body and what it needs best, it is essential to respect her choices about it like you respect any other person’s choices, because it is a bit demeaning to assume that a woman can’t think either.
And if you’re so against abortions, just don’t have one. 🙂