CW: This article discusses topics of abortion and unsafe abortion that may be distressing to some readers.
The social injustice of gender discrimination
There are five principles of social justice; Access to resources, Equity, Participation, Diversity and Human Rights. Human rights refer to the rights, choices and freedom everyone in the world is entitled to for their whole life. These are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.
Recently, after 50 years, the Supreme Court in America overturned the constitutional right to abortion, this resulted in individual states having the freedom to decide whether they want to ban abortion. This is a huge step back for gender equality and is a prime example of gendered discrimination, by taking away a human right of freedom, to make choices about your own body, away from only women and people assigned female at birth. Since 1972, when the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the U.S. Senate women have gained more and more equality, however the ban of abortion in states has taken that progress a massive step backwards.
Why banning abortion is gender discrimination
The banning of abortion is an example of discrimination as it is denying access to a service that is only required by women and people assigned female at birth, it is linked to gender discrimination and gender violence. not being able to get an abortion can lead to many consequences for women and those with a reproductive system.
The lack of abortion opportunity can result in a halt in a professional or educational journey, males are able to progress without a risk of being forced to give birth, resulting in time away. It can also effect health if their body is not ready or fit to carry a baby to term, this can result in many personal consequences. Both these professional and personal reasons and stop women being able to achieve life goals, whereas males are not subject to this barrier of lack of choice.
Why access to abortions is a human right
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women summarised that the banning or denial of safe abortion, can be classed as gender based violence, and depending on the level of health risks, mental or physical, is torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. This treatment can result in unsafe abortion methods which can lead to extreme consequences such as death, because of restriction in laws and practice.
Three ways to help abortion rights
Here are three ways you could help women and those with reproductive systems in abortion restricted areas and try and gain back some gender equality.
Spreading awareness of social injustice such as a lack of choice for your own body and gender discrimination can be easy yet effective. Spreading awareness can be done by sharing statistics of unsafe abortions, stories of women who have needed or need abortions and the impact of not being able to gain access to safe abortions, and or spreading the injustice of one gender not having a fundamental human rights freedom of choice. Sharing these things on your social media is effective as posts are fast spreading creating bigger audiences that are aware of the issue.
Donate to causes
Charities and organisations that help the public rely greatly on donations to be able to reach their goals. Planned parenthood and National Network of Abortion Funds can help those in the United States recently effected, Abortion Without Borders can help those in Europe. These organisations can help provide care, as well as awareness and campaigning for pro-choice causes.
Take actions to the street
Taking your thoughts and creating actions in the streets such as protests, street campaigns and speaking to people, can help put a real life aspect to issues and injustices by putting real faces and emotions to the problem to people who may not have been aware or that opinionated on the topic.
The thought of women and people assigned female at birth not having full rights to their bodies, like men, is more than disheartening for gender equality. The restrictions on two main social justices, human rights and access to resources, is an undeniable backwards step for society and the notion of progressing equality in modern society.