Every once in a while I get nostalgic for my debate days at UNAM and I’ll go through the posts on their facebook page. Yesterday as I was doing that I came across a proposed motion: This house believes that all girls above the age of 16 will be mandated to use birth control pills and other birth control methods as cautionary measure for rape, teenage pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies, as opposed to allowing abortion.’ This motion was proposed by a young woman who I can only I assume is anti-abortion for “morality” reasons, so instead she would rather have the powers that be dictate choices about reproductivity to young girls and women, there’s absolutely nothing immoral about that!
Naturally, the discussion is a theoretic one, but this is a platform where the youth pride themselves in engaging on the issues that affect them and in “spearheading” possible policy change, so we have actual engagement going on here and these are the ideas that the youth are going around with. When a medicine student pointed out the side effects of birth control on people, one guy commented that perhaps it is exactly these side effects that might deter young girls from engaging in – as he put it “their reckless sexual ways.”
It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to just so they protect their “moral high ground” on abortion, the lengths people will got to in justifying making decisions over women’s bodies, decisions they really have no business making. At the 5th African Health, Sexual and Reproductive Rights workshop last year, I happened to be in a seminar with an abortion specialist who told us that when done correctly in a safe environment, abortion can actually be less risky than giving birth. I think that’s what we should be advocating for, legal and safe abortions. Back street abortions are an expensive public health issue and we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the real issues or try to side step abortion by calling it a sin. The girl who proposed that debate motion went on to say that she would propose for the rule to apply to women of the ages of 16-25. For me that raises the question ‘what then about the women above 25 who want to have abortions?’ because they too will turn to the back streets for unsafe abortions risking their lives, which apparently is not as big an issue for the people who may just be our future policy makers! For them, it is always the right to life of the fetus, never the right to life for the woman!