Yesterday we spoke about women who need an abortion, but are forced to wait because of laws that mandate counseling or waiting periods. The Guttmacher Institute has data on the USA, which when interpreted can get a bit depressing. A waiting period has been mandated in 35 states; 27 of which require that a woman be kept informed about the progression of her pregnancy during this period. Some states subject women to transvaginal ultrasounds – a chance to “meet the fetus” before abortion.

Are these measures medically indicated? No. Are they emotional manipulation? Yes. Do they infantilize women and emotionally torture them? Yes.

Why is this important? Because, as more and more countries rethink abortion, it is necessary to make sure that women are not just given services and access to these services, but also the right to access these services with dignity. Also, many countries with liberal laws are rethinking their policies, because of the gradual resurgence of fundamentalist religious values, and conservative politics. Here, it is important to protect the rights of women, including their right to call the shot on abortion.

That brings me to the quote of the month:

image “We can trust women to make decisions that are right,” – Dr. Ann Furedi, Chief Executive at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

Read the entire article here.

Dr. Furedi’s words should be self-evident, considering women have been trusted by global cultures to be responsible for raising their children. But when it comes to fertility, these words come as a surprise to much of the world. As discussed yesterday, the notion of distrusting a woman, or degrading her ability to think for herself when it comes to her fertility, springs from patriarchal beliefs that entrust a woman, her body and her decisions to a father or husband, and in their absence to another person with more decision making powers than her.

As we move forward, it is important that we question these beliefs, and try as best as we can to stop this misogyny and this shaming of women. Abortion is an intensely personal decision, and a woman who choses to abort is not running away from responsibility like it is often assumed. Au contraire, she is taking her responsibility of parenting very seriously, and making an honest decision about her inability to raise a child at that point in her life.

It is time we learned to respect her decisions. It is time we learned to trust her.

Read more about pro-choice values, and autonomy here.