Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This post is an abortion

or the “I want RU-486” post

Since yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of the Roe Vs Wade decision I thought it timely to write about abortion.

It’s a female issue, a political issue, a social issue and a class issue. Some brief research has told me that over 40 million women per year have abortions, it is estimated that nearly half of those are in countries where abortion is severely restricted by law.
George Bush said yesterday to a anti abortion demonstration that the anti abortion movement ‘will prevail’.
The status that a country has on abortion will often mirror the status that women carry in that society – this is what fundamentally concerns me about an ‘anti choice’ president in a supposedly free and democratic country. Conservative forces such as the church and the right will often reduce women to their biological roles, without letting women take control of their sexuality.
Contraception is not 100% foolproof, it should always be used, but it is fallible and most importantly rape is a reality in New Zealand and across the world. Until unplanned pregnancy can be protected against there will be a need for abortion.

In many countries where abortion is illegal women who are wealthy can still access black-market but relatively safe abortions. But abortion related death is a reality for poor women from developing countries such as Latin America and Africa, those of the lower classes cannot defy the law.
Women are having abortions without help or without going to hospital when complications occur. No matter what the anti abortionists say – its happening and abortion laws need to be liberalised and abortion decriminalised and legalised the world over.
Countries like New Zealand should be demanding this for developing countries not just entertaining our own internal argument about abortion.

Abortion highlights the inequality between men and women and until abortions are free, safe and available for all we are not truly equal.
Over the next year New Zealand will have a discussion about the availability of RU-486 in this country. This is a safe and uncomplicated way to have an abortion.
It is vital that this pill is made available only with counselling and support as is required with the current abortion system.
Sexual education, commitment to a partner, free contraception, safe and accessible family planning, contraceptives for men and the protection of abortion clinics are all vital to lowering the rate of abortion and protecting women from unsafe sexual practices and abortions.
It is with pride that I see how far we have come in New Zealand. We will have the RU-486 debate but it concerns me how far we have to go for women to be equal and for women to have control over their bodies.