2016 has been a pivotal year for reproductive rights for reasons both good and bad………..and as we bid adieu to this rollercoaster ride of a year let us pause and reflect on all that we have achieved and start looking forward to the year that will be.
The Best of 2016
1. Polish abortion law protesters march against proposed restrictions
Woman power rocked Poland when one of the biggest marches in history took place on Black Friday. Protesters took to streets across Poland to oppose the proposal to ban abortions in almost all circumstances.
2. The Year Abortion Was Destigmatized On TV
Four shows debuted which normalized, and even had humorous abortion plotlines in 2016, making it a landmark year. Black Horseman, Jane the Virgin, You’re the Worst, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend all featured abortions that were not framed as tragic endings, but rather as hopeful beginnings
3. Abortion drone Ireland: Abortion pills everywhere!
On June 21st an Abortion Drone flew from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland at Narrow Waters Castle. After the drone landed safely two women took the pills. At the same time Women on Waves employed a RC speedboat to send over more pills for the women. Making abortion illegal will not keep women from accessing abortion pills, by ship, by mail, through the internet, drone or RC speedboat!
4. Let’s Talk About Abortion
ASAP launched a month long Film festival commemorating Sept 28th. The overall objective was to create awareness around the issue of abortion access and stigma in general and to give space to voices of youth from Asia in particular. The intention was to increase the visibility and encourage dialogue on women’s bodily autonomy and rights. Watch the film here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8i2qvGrtIU
5. Abortion is on the Agenda at Women Deliver: ‘Elephant in the Room’
The “Women Deliver” conference, a major recurring global gathering on reproductive and sexual health, has been criticized in the past for tiptoeing around the issue of abortion. Not so this year. At the conference this year, organizers are included a session called “The Elephant in the Room: What About Abortion?”
Before we set to welcome 2016 here’s what went really wrong and why we should be prepared for challenging times ahead. These are issues affecting not just abortion but shows a closing of spaces for dissent and diversity and an increased intolerance of a different voice. This environment makes it even more difficult and challenging to speak up for a woman’s right to take decisions over her own body.
The Worst of 2016
1. Abortion is ‘murder,’ says Turkey’s PM
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he considered abortion as “murder.” “I am a prime minister who is against Caesarean births. I consider abortion as murder,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
2. Qandeel Baloch, a self- proclaimed feminist from Pakistan is killed by her own brother. She was bold, she was out there and she challenged society’s hypocrisy. In one of her last posts, Qandeel said: “As women we must stand up for ourselves. As women we must stand up for justice. I believe I am a modern day feminist… I am just a women with free thoughts free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM.” http://images.dawn.com/news/1175827
3. After a long struggle to regulate surrogacy in India, the government passed a law which is unfortunate in that it reinforces the need for others to decide what a woman should or should not do with her body! It justifies more control rather than less, it denies parenthood to single persons, gay and lesbians. http://feminisminindia.com/2016/08/31/critical-analysis-surrogacy-regulation-bill-2016/
4. Bangladesh has become a dangerous place for anyone who dares to cross an invisible line set by Islamic extremists intent on silencing dissenting voices with knives and guns. In the last two years, at least eight atheists and gay rights campaigners have been killed in attacks in the majority Muslim country. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/28/opinions/bangladeshi-bloggers-opinion/
5. And now for the big one. The Olympian sexist milestone that was created by the media, where women athletes, winners all, were denigrated, insulted and generally considered as inferior to all the men, even when they were breaking world records for both sexes! Here is a compilation of almost every reported sexist incident. Brace yourself and read on: http://fusion.net/story/338501/sexism-olympics-rio-simone-biles/