Opinion

Take stand for women’s rights

By Shepparton News

The themes explored in Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale have truly never come to life during current times than they did this week.

I almost cried as I heard the news that United States state Alabama vote to outlaw abortion completely this week.

There are so many reasons why this news felt like a gigantic Game of Thrones-like sword had stabbed me in the chest as I listened to the news.

This was quickly followed by further news that in recent times ‘heart beat bans’ on abortion had been passed in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi; North Dakota and Iowa, which meant the procedure could not legally take place after about six weeks gestation.

Now I’ve never been pregnant myself but it doesn’t take a genius to understand some women simply would not have discovered their pregnancy after the six-week mark.

This decision by Alabama is truly a step back for not only women’s reproductive rights but also women’s rights on the whole.

And what truly sickened me the most was listening to the radio grabs of the people who voted to pass this bill — men ... they were all men speaking about this bill.

How on Earth can we live in a time where a country is both igniting the #MeToo movement and exposing the insidious culture of disrespect toward women in all facets of society but at the same time states are voting to outlaw abortion?

Furthermore, I also learned the reason why we are currently seeing these abortion bans crop up in conservative states across the US.

It stems back to the 1973 decision entitled ‘Roe v Wade’, which was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court which protected a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

And who has recently appointed two new male Supreme Court justices? Donald Trump, of course.

And we already know his stance on a women’s right to her own body.

As I heard distraught US female citizens pleading with the government to change their decisions and imploring that this will not be passed without a fight, I began to picture the opening scenes of the television remake of Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale.

The book, which was recently adapted into a series, is set in a dystopian society of Gilead where many women have become barren with the exception of the handmaids.

Their job is to basically be raped and provide a foetus for their rapist and his wife.

Which brings me to the absolute most sickening part of this whole bill being passed in Alabama.

It is the sheer and utter hopelessness for women living in those states.

Firstly, they will likely face prosecution if they flee the state to have the procedure elsewhere.

If they seek help at home and a doctor does perform an abortion, these doctors stand to face more jail time than the man who raped the woman.

I will not sit back over on Australian shores and think that this will never happen to me.

Women across the globe must stand up and say that this is not okay.

We do not want to go back to the way we were treated centuries ago. We have not come all this way to be told what we can and cannot do with our wombs.

Tara Whitsed is a journalist at The News.