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The global well-being depends on how significant women’s rights are. A decade ago, a woman’s right treaty was signed by the magnificent world states. However, women empowerment is far from its peak, because new issues are still emerging, aspects, such as culture, politics and financial areas are still debated across the genders. Women work more than men in most countries, and yet earn less than men do. Gender prejudice is a woman’s daily encounter. If poverty strikes, women feel the greater impact. The perception that violations women rights is found in the states where religion is paramount in misconception, such as Muslim countries, some people even think it is not a serious issue. Gender inequality affects the life of a child, his or her well being and proper development. So, women’s reproductive rights should be given the special attention.
Women Reproductive Rights
One of the main aims of UNPF (United Nations Population Fund) is to make sure that every youth is free from HIV, and any other sexual oriented infections. It also aims at making sure that every woman is respected and treated with dignity. The United Nation Population Fund aims at enhancing human reproductive health through the provision of supplies and services to the marginalized group of people. Among this group are internal elderly migrants and people with disabilities. United Nation population fund is against the female genital mutilation.
Women’s reproductive rights revolve around the abortion, use of contraceptives and the number of children to bear. According to Natasha (80), hundreds of medical abortions were performed in the first half of 2001; these procedures were done using mifepristone or methotrexate. Although the drug was already available in 13 other countries, Bush administration imposed restrictions on the drug. In 2006, the appointment of Supreme Court judge, Samuel Antony Alito was a positive move towards fighting for the reproductive health of women. According to Alito, the constitution did not protect abortion rights. Ongoing concern of women’s organization in the United States is how the Supreme Court might handle abortion cases in the future.
Abortion comes as the last resort preventing the birth of unwanted baby. A woman who cannot support a child financially, emotionally and even sometimes physically does not have to bring that child in to the world. Furthermore, if a mother is forced to have a child, the child becomes the victim, since he or she will be in unstable living condition.
Therefore, when mothers are allowed to abort, the vicious cycle of poverty is broken. Take the example of a teenage mother who is forced to drop out of school and bring up a child. The mother feels socially unaccepted and may pass on the frustrations to the child. This may result in poverty being passed on from one generation to another, since in such instances; the children of unstable mother also end up unstable. Preventing child bearing is not a crime, its awaiting an appropriate time.
Banning abortion is subjecting a woman to a mandatory motherhood, which is a unique form of slavery. In other words, it is pure victimization of a woman and child. (Cook 34). 25% of women live in countries, which prohibit abortion. In these countries, women are valued for their biological significance. Luckily, with the emergence of contraceptives and family planning procedures, and medication, there are no more forcing women to bear children they do not want.
Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the principle of medicine. However, due to the stigma that goes with abortion, 43.5% of abortions are done illegally. Despite the social classes and law prohibiting it, abortion continues to be practiced both at hospitals and in backstreet clinics by quarks. Prohibiting abortion violates another fundamental human right, right of a woman to life. It is estimated that about 78000 women die from unsafe abortion procedures annually. Others are left sterile and lifetime scarred. However, this is not a scenario found in a developing world; it is all about the legality of the procedure.
Prohibiting safe abortion leads to life endangering practices. The effects of the punishment only give rise to increased abortion rates. Good medical procedure is often accompanied by contraceptive consultation and advice and even sometimes sterilization, if the woman wants it. After this, unwanted pregnancies are rare. Illegal abortions are frequent, hence the conclusion that there more abortions in countries that prohibit their practice.
It is during 1970s that the U.S Supreme Court declared bans on abortions as unconstitutional, thus legalizing it all over the United States of America. Supreme Court disagrees with those of view that life begins after conception. This is regardless of views by pro-choicer who argues that it is horrific and barbaric. This school of thought has no regards to the ordeals women go through when forced to carry a child they do not want.
After the entire debate, one fundamental question remains hanging, why should we legalize the abortion? It is a personal right against the government standings. Government says it is its duty to protect the embryo. However, this raises questions, since an embryo is not qualified as a human, therefore; what does the government claim it is protecting? The right is in recognition of right to choose on how many children to bear, when, and provision of information to the persons concerned. It is government’s role to ensure that couples get quality information, pertaining to their reproductive health. Every woman is entitled to be protected against gender prejudice, violence of any kind and coercion.
Reproductive rights are not limited, and they include the right to safe medical abortion procedures, access to reproductive information, use of birth control mechanisms, reproductive health service. No woman should be coerced to receive sterilization, termination of pregnancy, and female genital mutilation. Traditional reproduction is the passing on the existing traditional values, beliefs and practices from one generation to another. It refers to mechanics of how cultural ways of doing things is maintained through the ages.
The decline in the number of abortion cases annually in the U.S may be attributed to the increased usage of contraceptives. They include the insertion of a cervical cap, female condoms, jelly, female sterilization, daily pills and implants.
Introduction of contraceptives has kept population rate at averagely 2 children per woman. This has helped significantly to curb the number of abortions carried out annually. Some people reproduce strategically to enhance their existing social status and class. Contrary to that, they call it social class dilution. This is a subjective factor because of having a class or not depending on an individual. (Kenneth 10)
Scientific findings show that infertility is just but a technical mishap that can be rectified thanks to the emerging reproductive technologies. This issue has raised controversy in the media due to its complicated procedures. Media usually presents a scenario of only two people; the doctor and the fetus, thus eliminating the parent, specifically the mother.
Reproduction technologies refer to alternatives to natural ways conceiving. It involves more than the three principals found in cultural reproduction, the child, mother, and father. The procedure involves; technician collecting the egg, the egg itself, egg fertilization, medical procedures, the sperm donor and legal representation. Great reproductive technologies were developed in the 1980s some included; (IVF) in vitro fertilization, Embryo transfer, flashing sex predetermination, surrogate motherhood, and gamete introfallopian transfer (GIFT).
Surrogate motherhood is a contractual parenting arrangement. The contracted woman agrees to be artificially inseminated with a sperm and carries the resulting pregnancy to term, and surrenders the child upon birth as stipulated in the contract. Louise Brown, the first child that was conceived through Vitro fertilization was born in 1978, since that time, innovation in human reproduction has been the subject of regular media’s attention and constant public controversy. Louise was touted as a test tube baby invoking images of mad scientific conjuring up human beings from chemical laboratories. This was not the case, but the term exemplifies misconceptions, hopes and fantasies that can be created by inter section of technology, communication and basic human value. (Kenneth 4) Mary Beth and William Stern case is an outstanding example to elaborate on this. Mr Stern contracted Mary for parenting arrangement. After giving birth to Louise, Mary sought to keep the child. A long legal battle followed accompanied by the influence from various activist bodies. They projected violation of women’s right to a child she carried to term and had developed mother-child bond. This practice was termed as oppression and exploitation. However, the U.S Supreme Court awarded Mr. Stern Louise custody. Mary remained the legal mother of the child. The court concluded that whether it was a commercial agreement or not, Mary carried the baby to term not to forget the inseminated sperm fertilized her egg.
When there is an accusation of some violation of rights, there must be the accused, and the person, whose rights have been violated. (Kenneth 34) Gives a count of some of these accused groups of people; this includes the media, medical personnel and the government among many.
Media portrays these technologies as miraculous rescue for infertile mothers. They only focus on the role played by physicians and medical researchers. It is an emphasis of medicine and its control on fertility. Feminist view argues that women’s picture has been painted as that of transparent. The role of women in the child bearing is marginalized; they feel left out in conception, gestation and even during childbirth.
The public plays a crucial role in enforcing prejudice against women over this issue. Public debate is all about what the doctors say about the patient, in case it is never made clear whether the patient is the child or the mother.
Feminist scholars are of the view that this technology depicts and facilitates the imbalance of power that exists between the two genders. These scholars worry that these developments are manipulative and are intended to constrain women’s autonomy. Men will use these scientific innovations for their advantage on male-dominated society. (Kenneth 8)
Feminists in their writing conclude that women are portrayed as containers. Women are pro-creative medicine, and legal binding, but when likened to containers, hatchers, and reproductive machines then their roles are clearly relegated to the vessels for their men’s seeds. This is extremely dehumanizing, and such technologies are not worth it. (Bringle 50)
Feminist scholars have often accused medicine practices as demeaning, because they discard the role of women. Doctors want the total control over women’s reproduction power, since they treat women as a part and not a whole human. It is a right of every woman to be treated as a whole human and not be cherished for her reproductive capabilities.
“When we get busy debating on issues about a frame, but the frame itself cannot be seen, we become invisible like it”. (Ferguson 13) Though it may be projected that this debate revolves around science laboratories and hospitals, the truth is, it is in a professional realm that allows for abuse of power by physicians, when they discuss the reality of the patient in public, something that is even against the code of conduct in the medicine field.
Trichler (2) maintains that the definition of child labor is misplaced. Child labor is defined as a physiological process whereby the uterus expels its content through the birth canal and to the outside world”. It is obvious in the above definition fails to recognize the labor and effort the woman puts towards childbirth.
Celeste Michelle in his book states that doctors are viewed as life givers and sometimes creators. Media portrays women as people who cannot make sound medical decisions of their own. It is made appear that abortion becomes a woman’s choice, and they are projected as solely responsible for killing the child.
Women Rights and NRTs
For over four decades, courts and legislatures have developed a doctrine on reproductive rights, based on the premises that the government should leave the individual woman or couple alone in making the fundamental decision about whether to conceive and bear a child. Women who have the means seek reproductive services without government interference. This hand-off approach offers little help to women without means. Freedom of choice is of the little comfort to those whose poverty and ill health makes it impossible to care for a new baby. Public funds for service limit and subject to an annual budget fights. Native American women on reservations are very dependent on federal support, often uncertain due to pro-life pressure from the congress.
In her arguments (Ehrenreich 200), she states that the effectiveness of medical means for helping infertile couples bear children has been growing dramatically. Perhaps, this has reduced the demand for surrogacy, but it has raised concern about its effect on women. The technology gives doctors new tools to make the essential decision about the child conception. At the same time, the technology both enhances the status of the fetus and separates it, conceptually from the mother.
They go further and warn that new reproductive technologies pose a serious threat to women from the male-dominated medical field. Some women writers advocate for these alternatives. They admit that they have increased women choices. They are no longer subjected to biological time limit, since medicine has increased chances of childbirth even beyond the age of 40.