Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog for Choice Day

Today is the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the landmark decision legalizing the right of American women to choose. In honour of today, I'm participating in Blog for Choice Day 2009, even though I'm not American.

This year's topic is our pro-choice hopes for Obama and the new Congress, and it's why I felt that it was important to blog today, despite not being American, and my belief that the many, many restrictions on choice in the United States, some of which are supported by ostensibly pro-choice people, infringe on the rights of women to exist as free human beings. (I'm a believer in the reasoning behind the Canadian Supreme Court's decision that any restrictions on abortion in essence force women to be pregnant against their will violates their very personhood.)

But I didn't really want to talk about my hard-line position on abortion today. I wanted to talk about the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. The policy bars any organization that receives US funds from having anything whatsoever to do with abortion, whether it is providing them, advocating for them, or counselling women on their very existence, whether or not abortion is legal in the country where the organization is located.

This is ideology trumping the actual health and well-being of the citizens of these countries, and using American aid as a tool to enforce this ideology on women who have very few other options. It puts health-care providers in the position where they are either prevented from giving women ALL the information they want, regardless of the risk to women's health and safety, or foregoing necessary funding and supplies. Essentially, they're playing with people's lives, because they can. Because they've decided they have that right.

Incidentally, abortion is now legal in Mexico City, although not in the rest of Mexico.

The Global Gag Rule was originally implemented by Reagan, thereby neatly fitting into my theory that Reagan was a scourge on humanity. It was reversed by Clinton at the beginning of his first term, until Bush reinstated it at the beginning of his presidency. Obviously, this means that it remained standing throughout Bush Senior's term, meaning that all three Republican presidents of the last thirty years deserve equal blame for this abominable policy.

So my hopes for Obama and the new Congress? Bye bye Global Gag Rule. And I don't know if it's possible, but it would be great if Congress could pass some legislation prohibiting future evil presidents from bringing it back once Obama's term has ended. The health and well-being of women and their families worldwide shouldn't depend on the whims of a president bowing to anti-choice interests.

1 comment:

lb said...

Wow... that is absolutely phenomenal. Not in a good way. I don't really find it surprising that something like this is in place, but I'm actually in awe that once removed, it is of such dire concern to republicans to have in reinstated ASAP.

Abortion is something that should be a viable option to women no matter where they are, and the fact that these men have taken it upon themselves to make it more difficult for women across the globe makes me ill.

I'm definitely with you in the hope that Obama will take this on as one of his steps moving forward in his presidency.