“My body, my choice.”

“My body, my choice”. The choice of whether or not a woman keeps a baby is with the woman, correct? Well, this is how it should be but sadly this isn’t always the case. Trump and his cabinet (all men) signed an executive order to ban federal money going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortion.

Trump has been openly against abortion in the past and it would be no surprise if he attempted to make abortion illegal during his presidency. During his presidential campaign he said that he believed “some form of punishment” should be in place for women who have abortions, if the practice is banned.

Closer to home, we have heard of the UN Committee stating that the UK is violating the rights of women in Northern Ireland by restricting their access to abortion, exposing the women of Ireland to “horrific situations”. The committee on the elimination of discrimination against women (Cedaw) concluded that “the situation in Northern Ireland constitutes violence against women that may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.

Denying abortion and criminalising the act in Northern Ireland is discrimination against women and it subjects them to mental distress, especially if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. Northern Ireland has the harshest criminal penalty for abortion in Europe as women can be sentenced to life imprisonment for undergoing an unlawful abortion.

In 2016 over 700 women from Northern Ireland travelled to abortion clinics in Britain to terminate pregnancies. It is astounding to believe that even in this day and age; in the Western World we are criminalising women who wish to undertake an abortion. There are many reasons why a woman may need to have one.

This could be due to: mental/physical health; the baby could be a result of rape; the woman may be unable to provide for the baby both physically and financially; but also it could be that the baby was accidental (even after using protection) and it could affect their education. Women are the ones who have to carry the baby for nine months in their womb and give birth, why should anyone else be able to state whether she is allowed to have an abortion or not?

Politicians need to wake up and realise that each case of abortion is subjective; every women should be entitled to the option of abortion. A patriarchal society has attempted for years to undermine women and their rights, but things are slowly changing and need to continue to change. A Planned Parenthood advertisement stated that “77% of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never get pregnant.” This shows that the majority of decisions against abortion are made by men, not women.

I will finish this blog post with a thought provoking quote about abortion: “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

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