Since I was a little girl, with a Catholic education in a patriarchal society, I always felt that there was some disproportionate focus on the female reproductive system. My mom taught me to sit with my legs closed, not to talk to older men, and to always be presentable. When I got my first period, she explained what that meant, then she cried, grabbed a drink and called her mom. I understood only later her actions.
Getting your first period means that you are fertile and could get pregnant. I was 11. I might have had a crush on a boy and a kiss on the cheek from him was the height of my sexual thoughts. My main concerns were getting the best grades possible at school, spending time with my parents at weekends and reading.
A couple of times, when I was a bit younger, relatives tried to make me hold infant cousins: the worst horrible experience of my life. Another bad experience was the same relatives trying to convince me that it was fun to touch my pregnant auntie’s belly. I just wanted to go back home to my stuffed animals and dream of a future where I would be a successful veterinarian helping all the animals possible (spoil alert, I never became a vet because I would have had to disembowel alive animals, which is something I didn’t think it would have been useful for such an education – it wasn’t until later that you could opt-out of such practices).
In my teen years, I felt ever so strongly about the freedom of the woman’s body: everyday there seemed to be some murder where the victim was a woman and many were the attacks on a law that was established in the 70s that granted legal status to abortion (despite that being just in theory as there are many conditions that have to be applied to each case of interruptions of pregnancy).
The thought of wanting to get sterilised formed sometimes in my teens: in the high school I attended, they taught sexual education and were quite clear on the dos and don’ts of sexual intercourse and I knew ever so strongly that having children wasn’t something for me and I was wondering I could make this happen. I talked to my mom about sterilisation and she said it wasn’t possible: if you have your period you should bear children. “Thankfully”, because of some problems with my period, I had to take the pill, so that saved me for a while. But I was already looking into how to get abortions, should a pregnancy happen – it would have not been easy to get such a service because one of the conditions of the 70s law on abortion was to go through the family doctor who could have told my parents. And I got into the darker side of the research, where you see the alternative methods to interrupt a pregnancy: from metal clothes hangers to poisonous herbal infusions. I wanted to know that a solution was possible.
And I was wondering, why put women through this? Especially if it is not (allegedly) a government based on religion, why would people want to punish women for not wanting to be pregnant, or interrupt unwanted pregnancies?
Then, I moved to another country when I was 25. A couple of years later, after I settled a bit better, I asked my GP how I would go on asking to get sterilised. The GP said that since I was still under 30, I should have waited until I got to that age because I might found a boyfriend with whom I wanted to make lots of babies. I said thank you, very useless as I know I don’t want children and I won’t come to this place again. In the meantime, I moved again, got a fulfilling job and a loving and supporting boyfriend. Still haven’t managed to get sterilised, but this doesn’t mean that I want kids. We had “the talk”, basically at the beginning of our relationship, where I explained very clearly that I don’t want kids because that’s who I am and if he wanted kids he better find someone else as I didn’t want to make him unhappy. He accepted the terms and seems okay with it.
To be clear, I never had an abortion, always been careful with pills and condoms and also abstinence. But these are not viable things for everybody and if an unwanted pregnancy happens, women should be able to interrupt that. It doesn’t matter the backstory, the reasons are between the woman and her body.
People around the world have been giving emotional excuses to prevent women from getting abortions, from the “killing a baby” argument to “foetuses feel every bit of pain”. Often, the same people wouldn’t give women enough support during and after the pregnancy is completed, they are pro-death-row and against refugees.
Access to reproductive services is a women’s right meaning that they are human rights.
Already with Trump, those against abortion felt so much more empowered, we thought it was over, but then later there have been more attacks on this right – see what is happening in the U.S.A. with Roe v. Wade which potentially could have a ripple effect in other Countries.
And then there was this tweet:
I have been thinking about it quite a lot these days. It is not only an attack on women’s rights: it is also an attack on education and on women’s education. What does Matthew Gaetz mean with “over-educated”? Is an over-educated woman someone with multiple degrees? Or does this term apply to young women with a high school education? What are the premises of this tweet? Because in my circle of friends, I have women with PhDs, Master’s degrees, and high school graduates, and only two don’t have a child: one has a gynaecological disease that prevents her to get pregnant (despite trying all the possible solutions, such as multiple sessions of unsuccessful IVF), the other one got out of a long relationship because her fiance decided he didn’t want to be with her anymore after 10 years together and she had to pick herself up again.
Over-educated isn’t a thing. There isn’t anything like too much education. Education it’s a right, a human right.
And “over-educated women” is not a thing.
“Under-loved millennials”? Why? It’s not only at this moment in history that women want freedom for their bodies: the suffragettes are just one such example.Trying to focus the attention on the boomer/millennial/Gen Z etc divide only wants to derail the attention from the fact that there is an attack to human rights.
“Lonely microwave dinner”? Because said women are working and “failing at their wifely duties”? This is minimising the positive impact of women’s work in the community. One of the reasons women started working was to support their families, such as their children because the men in their lives cannot support them enough. If women don’t have time to make a dinner from scratch is because they are out doing important work, for their community and/or for their families. And even women that stay at home, might have many reasons why they can’t make a homecooked meal.
I won’t even comment on the cat thing.
Such a tweet is just despicable. And is not the only one: I took this one because is the latest example of such attacks.
And this year we already had the Pope complaining that people prefer pets over children, a very disdainful thing as apparently, the world population is dwindling (this from the leader of an organisation that has celibacy as one of their main principles). Honestly, this is a weird claim: the current global population is 7.753 BILLION. In the 1960s it was roughly 3 billion, meaning that in 60 years the people on this planet doubled. We got to 3 billion human beings in AT LEAST 2 millennia, and, yes, there have been improvements and progress in many aspects of human life which made living easier. But this doesn’t mean that we have to reproduce like rabbits. Also, what do you want to do with almost 8 billion people?
All this just put pressure on people, female and male alike. Let people live their lives, for goodness sake!
Anyway, to conclude and summarise all this,: wanting to prevent safe access to reproductive services it’s an attack on human rights. Women should be able to access abortion, the pill or whatever they need when they need it.
Just my thoughts.
Have a good night, beautiful kittens!