The recent executive order signed by the incoming US President relating to practices around abortion presents that of an essential global gag order to any NGO worldwide receiving US funds and offering reproductive services. In a practical sense the order means that any NGO which offers abortion services, counselling as a result or advocates for amendments to do with the abortion law reform will be ineligible for US grant funding. Beyond this, it even applies to organisations which are offering these services with the use of their own funding, disqualifying them from any future US assistance.
The absurdity around this decision is twofold. The first being the cost in reality which will be paid in human lives, as women seek informal and dangerous solutions in order to determine the direction of their own existence. Global studies indicate that between 8-18% of maternal mortality occurs as a result of unsafe abortion practices. Added to the illogicality of this decision is the understanding that abortion is legal in the US and some of the countries in which US assistance is provided across the world. We therefore find an ad hoc executive order which sits outside both the legislation of the donor country and that of its recipient.
The most rage inducing part of this entire debacle is the idea that any man has the right and ability to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body. As if her decision making capacity diminishes so much so, that men halfway across the world feel the need to dictate the choices in which she lives her life. Apparently the idea of sexual and reproductive rights attributed to women worldwide is just that, a notion in which is not at all universal or all encompassing. Instead, it is dictated to us, as women, whereby our own health and future life direction is put in jeopardy by a group of suited, middle aged men who believe they have a say in our choice around reproduction.
Surely such a Draconian order has no place in the world in which we live today. We often speak of the United States as the world leader on all things democratic. It has long been heralded by its presence as a merit-based, equal society that theoretically attributes rights to all its citizens. However, somewhere down the line the US, and let’s face it, every other world player out there decided that provisions which should be billed as basic human rights are only attributed to those of the majority’s choosing. It appears that the right to reproductive healthcare is not one that can be unanimously provided to women. Instead the ability to decide on this will be endeavoured upon by men and only men. Oh the irony…