This week, on my way home from work, I noticed the taxi in front of me. It was on the highway so the photo is blurred – allow me to help: the left side shows a weeping girl. The right side declares: ABORTION (in big bold letters) and underneath, a few threatening sentences about murder and eternal remorse.
It's not the first time I noticed this add. It sometimes appears on huge billboards, on busses. It always catches me unprepared. We didn't need "Roe vs Wade" to know that we women are still fighting for our rights, but it was a painful reminder.
A few years ago, I accompanied a friend who had to terminate a planned and wanted pregnancy, since the fetus was diagnosed with severe, incurable illness. If born, it would die within a couple of agonizing, painful years; and my friend and her family – husband and 2 kids – would be traumatized for life. She and her husband thought and decided it was the right decision.
Their decision? Think again. To terminate the pregnancy, she had to face a committee and plead her case. The Doctor's recommendation wasn't enough, the shared decision wasn't enough : she needed the approval of a group of strangers who in no way would be personally affected by their decision about her life.
A moment before she walked into the committee room, two women from the anti-abortion organization "Efrat" caught us. They tried to tell her that what she was about to do is murder, that the medical diagnosis isn't always certain, that for her entire life she will regret her decision and that if God gave her this blessing, he must have a reason. We both threw them aside, but our shock from their audacity was an additional trauma.
More pain was added when during that same week, two teenagers ended their lives due to an unwanted pregnancy. They knew she wouldn't be allowed by the committee to have an abortion; that they can't afford a private and secret procedure; that there is no way in the world they can raise a child; and that keeping the pregnancy would condemn them both from their social group. Instead of ending the pregnancy, they ended their lives.
The 21st century shows that many times, when a group is against something, they will bring "scientific facts" to support their case. We see it with anti-vaccination groups, creationists and "intelligent design" believers, groups who claim that the earth is flat – and anti-abortion groups. It's not just "science denial" any more: it's science abuse. I have written about it before, including in my latest book.
Those who are interested in the scientific knowledge about pregnancy, fetal development and abortion, will find it in the excellent article written by Noam Levitan on the Davidson website, in the following link:
Having said that, we mustn't be confused: the scientific arguments are not the issue. The issue is a socio-cultural one. John Lennon protested that the "Woman is the Nigger of the world", is the sense of slavery. It's not just in the case of the right to decide about pregnancy. It's present in every argument about women's rights in general. The bottom line is the ability of one group to aggressively control and dominate the choices available to another group. Unfortunately, the dominating group – including males and females alike – is based on paradigms that were constructed predominantly by men. The extreme case of rape can use as an example. Think about it this way: what do you think will happen to a proposed law, declaring that every male found guilty with rape, will be required by law to undergo vasectomy? Or will it be too extreme since we're imposing bodily interference?...
Research shows that equal rights for all, regardless of gender, lead to a more successful, developed and growing society that groups who discriminate women. In other words, women's rights are a social measure of democracy, tolerance' economic success – and justice.
The question is, which kind of society do we want to be part of – and what are we willing to do for it.