It is chilling, the speed with which women in the USA are losing their reproductive rights, as pro-life lobbyists are succeeding in criminalising abortion. Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp has made abortion after six weeks of pregnancy illegal in the state by signing the ‘Foetal Heartbeat Bill’. The bill prohibits abortion after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo, reports CBS. That is the time usually when doctors can start detecting a heartbeat. However, most women do not even realise that they are pregnant by six weeks.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp signed a bill which makes abortion after six weeks of pregnancy illegal.
  • Most women do not even realise that they are pregnant by six weeks.
  • Foetal abnormalities usually get detected well over 20 weeks in to pregnancy.
  • Instead of forcing women into carrying babies with abnormalities, why is no one asking them why they do not want to do so?

Despite knowing that her pregnancy may be ill-fated, a woman may have to carry full-term and endure the mental and physical trauma.

This isn’t an isolated incident of aggressively attacking women’s reproductive rights which is underway in the U.S right now. The Texas Senate has passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban abortions on the basis of the sex, race or disability of a foetus, and criminalise doctors who perform what opponents call “discriminatory abortions”, reports The Texas Tribune. While abortions over 20 weeks of pregnancy are banned in Texas, there were a few exceptions, which have been erased now as well.  This means that despite knowing that her pregnancy may be ill-fated, a woman may have to carry full-term and endure the trauma of knowing what is to happen.

How is that not cruel? Why aren’t we seeing this as dehumanisation of women, holding them to contempt, if they choose to terminate a pregnancy? Most fatal and unfortunate conditions are detected among foetuses after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When we do not have techniques at our disposal, which would make early detection possible, why such a hurry to implement bills like these? Time and again women endure unwanted pregnancies, which mostly are an outcome of sexual assault. Or perhaps they are just not ready to be mothers. And yet the pro-life lobby is bent on bringing back the regressive notion that a woman’s womb is more precious than her own agency.

Most fatal and unfortunate conditions are detected among foetuses after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When we do not have techniques at our disposal, which would make early detection possible, why such a hurry to implement bills like these?

The pro-life believers say they care about life which is yet to enter this world. But what about the life which is already here? Are women not humans? What measures are being taken to ensure the well-being of the baby and the mother, who may have financial, or health concerns, some of the common reasons why women elect for abortion. None! Because it is easier to dominate women and snatch their dignity and rights from them, than make this world a better place, a place where a woman would not have to endure an unwanted pregnancy on her own. Where a single mum wouldn’t have to hold two or three jobs just to be able to feed a child she wasn’t ready to have.

It is very common for pro-lifers to deem women wanting abortion as heartless, but no one makes an effort to know why she doesn’t want to be a mother. Women’s rights don’t matter, their agency doesn’t matter, and their ensuing struggles are no one’s business. And yet it is women who will incur legal consequences here. They will be criminals for wanting to terminate an ill-fated pregnancy, because someone else thinks that it is a wrong thing to do and what the concerned woman feels about that doesn’t matter.

Picture Credit: dnainida.com

Also Read: Dear Married Mothers, Don’t Feel Guilty To Put Your Feet Up

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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