Politics Opinion

Roe v Wade decision is a blow to the rights of all women

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The change of U.S. abortion laws have been seen as a blow to women's rights around the world (Screenshot via YouTube)

The overturning of Roe v Wade isn't just an American issue, but an indication of the oppression of women worldwide, writes Emily Bell.

I WORK IN childcare and am pro-kids when they have what is necessary to be taken care of and when this doesn’t ruin the health, safety and wellbeing of those who care so deeply for them. 

One of the gorgeous two-year-olds I work with had a conversation with me recently about how “trolls are too scary” and I told her it was okay because “monsters don’t exist”. I went to work on Monday and faced her, knowing I lied as over the weekend, Roe v Wade had been overturned.

It is terrifying that this two-year-old’s future and the future of so many children just like her are being decided primarily by White men who will not be alive to see the day this child grows into a woman. These men are making decisions based only on the needs of themselves and other men who already own positions of power.

It is not an exaggeration to say that females being born in America are going to die because of this decision. Whether it’s “backyard” abortions, medical complications or mental health-related reasons, this is a decision to trade lives. It is not, as many argue, going to impact the life of the birth giver to “save” the life of an unborn child. It is trading the life of the birth giver and the future of that child, especially if born a female, so old White men maintain their positions of power and control.

I am disgusted and left traumatised by the decision to overturn Roe v Wade, as so many are. In an age where we are sold equality for the benefit of capitalism, the people who profit are the ones making these unjust decisions on behalf of those paying for change.

I’ve had enough. We have had enough.

As women, we are taught from so young not to be angry and in turn not to be expressive and when we are it is only to be dismissed. For so long I have lived with repressed anger, but I have realised that only benefits those who are the cause. I will be an inconvenience. I will scream and shout and kick and bite as they try to carry us back to the 1950s. And if that makes me “hysterical” then that is something I am proud to be. 

I know it seems hopeless, given the events of the past few days, but America is a country concerned with its image and reputation. So, I am here to let the people making decisions know exactly what I think of them, as I sit watching the situation unfold from halfway across the world. Unfortunately, it won’t be anything they haven’t heard before but if we make our collective voices loud enough, they can’t play dumb forever.

Ignorance comes from a place of selfishness and I ask anyone who is onboard with overturning Roe v Wade to do research beyond their own views. See what people who have firsthand experience with this matter have to say, particularly minorities such as trans women, non-binary people and women of colour, who have historically been treated the most unfairly when discriminatory decisions are made. 

People who have the ability to carry a child are the same people who have the capability of deciding if they are able to raise it. No one else needs to have an opinion. Someone who takes away a person’s bodily autonomy, using another for their own pleasure because it gives them power and a sense of control is called a rapist. Right now, that definition is synonymous with the Supreme Court. The fundamental thought process is the same — taking away a person’s right to their own body to exert power.

Bringing a life into this world should not be taken lightly. It will be the birth giver's responsibility, not the politicians. Why do they have the responsibility over the people but deny it once the child is born? It should be enough for any person to have an abortion if they see fit as it is their life they are trying to protect.

It should be. Yet the children born of this decision will be born looking up at a broken world. A world they have been forced into that doesn’t have a place for them. Into a country that thinks the importance of owning women’s bodies is on a par with owning guns.

If you think you can’t make a difference, you need to wake up and start speaking. For a long time, I lived in a fantasy of naivety to protect my blissful ignorance. I convinced myself, through hopelessness and cynicism, that my voice was not worth hearing. Yet in the world we live, silence is our most dangerous currency.

Too many are happy to give their voice away to others because it negates us from accepting any responsibility. But that is changing and we have realised that if we don’t use our voices on every platform we can, then the world is only going to be changed by those who have had power for too long, those who think they already know what is right. Right here and right now, we are here to show them they’re wrong.

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Emily Bell is a freelance writer with a passion for activism, supporting feminist and queer movements.

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