Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

The Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education

Living in the US I have a unique opportunity to education that many other women and girls around the world do not. The UN and many others around the world have long recognized the importance of educating women and girls. Secretary Ban Ki Moon said, ““Education sends a message – a message of confidence and hope. It tells that child; you have a future; what you think matters.” Which is true. When you teach someone to think, it makes a huge difference. That’s why they started the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education. It is going to focus on literacy (a key skill for life) and secondary education. Like I have said before, not everything the UN does is good or perfect, but girls do need to be educated. They need to learn how to read and write, most importantly, because being literate can go a long way to improving your status in the world. While there are many people in general around the world who can’t read, women make up a disproportionate amount of those because they are often not allowed to go to school or have to stay home to help with things in the domestic sphere. Even when they do go to school, they usually stay fewer years than their male counterparts because their families don’t value educating them and they don’t see the need.

I have to be honest, there is one thing about this that bothers me. The fact that he talks about how education women and girls are reducing fertility as a good thing is what bothers me. First of all, because of the implication that when women are educated, they won’t want to have as many children (even though I, myself, want to have four children someday if God blesses us with them and I consider myself pretty educated and know others who are also educated who want large families). Second, because it’s paraded as a good thing, even though much of the world is in a fertility decline or very close to one. So there’s some good and some bad, like most things.

Source: Ban outlines social benefits of ensuring women have access to education

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Women in History: Jane Addams

She

  • founded the Hull House, which was the first (and best known) settlement house in the US.
  • was a sociologist.
  • was a philosopher.
  • was an author.
  • was a suffragist and a pacifist.
  • was the first woman from America (second woman overall) to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • traveled to Europe.
  • was a Christian.
  • helped start the Progressive Party.
  • was the first vice-president for the Playground Association of America.
  • was a charter member (and the most well-known woman member at the time) of the American Sociological Society.
  • was the national chairman of the Woman’s Peace Party.
  • was president of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (after serving, she would remain honorary president for her whole life).
  • worked for labor reform.
  • was a charter member for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • was vice-president for the National American Women Suffrage Association.
  • helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
  • served on Chicago’s Board of Education and within that chaired the School Management Committee.
  • helped found the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy.
  • was the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.
  • was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Yale.
  • read every book in her village library.
  • helped to form courts for juveniles.
  • was pro-life!
  • helped found the National Child Labor Committee.


Others said

  • “Miss Addams shines, so respectful of everyone’s views, so eager to understand and sympathize, so patient of anarchy and even ego, yet always there, strong, wise and in the lead. No ‘managing’, no keeping dark and bringing things subtly to pass, just a radiating wisdom and power of judgement.” – Emily Balch
  • “Jane Addams has been able to do more probably than any other living woman to popularize pacifism and to introduce radicalism into colleges, settlements, and respectable circles. The influence of her radical proteges, who consider Hull House their home center, reaches out all over the world.” – Elizabeth Dilling (and actually meant to be a criticism)
  • “Jane Addams is a woman of indomitable energy and persistence, of enthusiasm and adaptability; intellectually she is strong and possesses a keen sense of a humour. She is a slender, delicate, pink-cheeked woman with a face as fine as a cameo and a manner unassuming and attractive.” The Indianapolis Journal
  • “Miss Addams has been called “the greatest woman in the world,” the “mother of social service,” “the greatest woman internationalist” and the ‘first citizen of Chicago.'” – The New York Times
  • “In honoring Miss Addams we also pay homage to the work which women can do for the cause of peace and fraternity among nations. Miss Addams does not speak much, but her quiet, kind-hearted personality creates an atmosphere of good-will, which instinctively calls forth the best in all.” – Halfdan Kort
  • “I do not base her greatness on Hull House, important as that contribution is. Far more remarkable is the human trait of sticking to that project all her life. She made it a success. She stuck through when it was a success. That is a rare thing to do–to stick to a success.” – Carrie Chapman Catt

She said

  • “I am not one of those who believe – broadly speaking – that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.”
  • “It is good for a social worker to be an artist too.”
  • “We have all accepted bread from someone, at least until we were fourteen.”
  • “Talk of reprisal and aggression can only increase the spirit of bitterness.”

“As women we are the custodians of the life of the ages and we will no longer consent to its reckless destruction. We are particularly charged with the future of childhood, the care of the helpless and the unfortunate, and we will no longer endure without protest that added burden of maimed and invalid men and poverty-stricken women and orphans which war places on us.”

“Hundreds of poor laboring men and women are being thrown into jails and police stations because of their political beliefs. In fact, an attempt is being made to deport an entire political party.

These men and women, who in some respects are more American in ideals than the agents of the government who are tracking them down, are thrust into cells so crowded they cannot lie down.

And what is it these radicals seek? It is the right of free speech and free thought; nothing more than is guaranteed to them under the Constitution of the United States, but repudiated because of the war.

It is a dangerous situation we face at the present time, with the rule of the few overcoming the voice of the many. It is doubly dangerous because we are trying to suppress something upon which our very country was founded – liberty.

The cure for the spirit of unrest in this country is conciliation and education – not hysteria. Free speech is the greatest safety valve of our United States. Let us give these people a chance to explain their beliefs and desires. Let us end this suppression and spirit of intolerance which is making of America another autocracy.”

Awards

  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Honorary Degree from Yale
  • Took second in a poll by Independent (a magazine) titled “Who Was the Most Useful American”
  • M. Carey Thomas Prize

There is the Jane Addams Hull House Association.

There is the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.

There is the Jane Addams Hull-House  Museum.

There is the Jane Addams College of Social Work.

There is the Jane Addams Resource Corporation.

There is the Jane Addams Senior Caucus.

There is the Jane Addams Book Shop.

There is the Jane Addams School for Democracy.

There is the Jane Addams Recreation Trail.

There is a Jane Addams Memorial Park.

There are also elementary, middle, and high schools named after her.

Sources:

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Women in History: Fannie Lou Hamer

She

  • lived from 1917-1977.
  • was the youngest of 20.
  • was a Christian.
  • was pro-life! She considered abortion to be “legal murder.”
  • was a voting and civil rights activist.
  • played a huge role in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer.
  • was Vice-Chair for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
  • went to the National Democratic Convention to challenge the delegation from Mississippi.
  • was married.
  • was forcibly sterilized because she was a black woman. She was never told and never asked.
  • adopted two children with her husband.
  • after hearing Rev. James Bevel’s appeal that they should register to vote, she volunteered first despite knowing that a black woman registering to vote in the South could have horrible consequences.
  • was known for singing Christian hymns to the group of people she was with in order to keep morale high.
  • was sought out by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) because of her reputation.
  • was arrested for not complying with a whites only restaurant policy.
  • was beaten so badly in jail she almost died and she became permanently disabled.
  • lost her job as a sharecropper for her activism.
  • had death threats all the time.
  • was shot at.
  • continued despite these hardships.
  • ran for Congress twice.
  • criticized the Vietnam war.
  • has had compositions about her and in her honor composed.
  • was eventually able to register to vote and then helped others learn to pass the test that was an obstacle for voting.
  • sued the county for school desegregation.
  • helped start a Head Start program in her community.
  • helped to found the National Women’s Political Caucus.
  • worked as the SNCC Field Secretary.
  • helped form the Freedom Farms.
  • helped start a Pig Bank, a way of providing poor families with piglets.
  • testified in court on behalf of black, single mothers and helped them win rights to employment.

Others have said

  • “None of us would be where we are now had she not been there then.” – Andrew Young

“Mrs. Hamer always spoke from the heart. When she spoke at Atlantic City in front of the national TV, she spoke the same way, what you felt when she spoke and when she sang was someone who was opening up her soul and really telling you what she felt.  I think one of the most beautiful things about the movement in Mississippi was that it enabled a person like Mrs. Hamer to emerge.” – Bob Moses

She said

  • “I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared – but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they [white people] could do was kill me, and it seemed they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember.”
  • “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
  • “We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats, ’cause all of us is tired.”
  • “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
  • ”Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed.  But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.  I’m not backing off.”
  • “A white mother is no different from a black mother. The only thing is they haven’t had as many problems. But we cry the same tears.”
  • “With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful ’cause that’s what really happens.”
  • “Christ was a revolutionary person. That’s what God is all about, and that’s where I get my strength.”
  • “Christianity is being concerned about your fellow man, not building a million-dollar church while people are starving right around the corner.”
  • “We have to make it work. Ain’t nothing going to be handed to you on a silver platter, nothing. That’s not just black people, that’s people in general, masses. See, I’m with the masses…. You’ve got to fight. Every step of the way, you’ve got to fight.”
  • “I’m not going to try that thing. I got a black husband, six-feet-three, 240 pounds, with a 14 shoe, that I don’t want to be liberated from. But we are here to work side by side with this black man in trying to bring liberation to all people.”
  • “We still love these children. And after these babies are born we are not going to disband these children from our families … . I think these children have a right to live. And I think that these mothers have a right to support them in a decent way … . We are dealing with human beings.”
  • “No. What would I look like fighting for equality with the white man?  I don’t want to go down that low.  I want the true democracy that’ll raise me and that white man up… raise America up.”
  • “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.”

“All of this is on account we want to register [sic], to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings – in America?”

“Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people’s lives? Senator Humphrey, I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote. I had to leave the plantation where I worked in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take [the nomination] this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I’m going to pray to Jesus for you.”

“We have to realize just how grave the problem is in the United States today, and I think the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the eleventh and twelfth verses help us to know…what it is we are up against. It says, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ This is what I think about when I think of my own work in the fight for freedom.”

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

There is also the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy. (Note, I found two websites for it, so I’m not sure which is the real one/which is the most current.)

There is also a Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee.

There is also a Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, as Fannie did die of Breast Cancer.

Also, the Fannie Lou Hamer Statue Drive exists to try and get a full size statue of her in her hometown.

Sources:

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Shirin Ebadi

She

  • was born in Iran
  • used to be a judge and an attorney there.
  • works to better the lives of children and women in the Middle East.
  • has been imprisoned and tortured.
  • doesn’t let any of this stop her from doing what’s right.
  • was the 11th woman and the first person from Iran and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • did not have her acceptance speech broadcast in Iran (supposedly for not wearing a headscarf, but I think most people can figure out the real reason).
  • had her Nobel Peace Prize stolen by the government.
  • lives in exile.
  • was the first woman judge in Iran. (And then was removed, as women judges were later banned.)
  • established the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child, which promotes the principles in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • established the Defenders of Human Rights Center, which provides defense for people accused of political crimes, educates Iranians about human rights, and reports on the condition of human rights in Iran, despite constant struggles against the Iranian government.
  • has been critical of the US government.
  • is a wife.
  • is a mother to two daughters.
  • evaded at least two attempts on her life.
  • has written books.
  • helped draft a law against child abuse that was later passed.
  • helped found the Nobel Women’s Initiative.
  • started the Million Signatures Campaign to end legal discrimination against women in Iran.

Others have said

  • “As a lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist, she has spoken out clearly and strongly in her country, Iran, and far beyond its borders. She has stood up as a sound professional, a courageous person, and has never heeded the threats to her own safety.” – Nobel Peace Prize Committee
  • “Both in her research and as an activist, she is known for promoting peaceful, democratic solutions to serious problems in society. She takes an active part in the public debate and is well-known and admired by the general public in her country for her defence in court of victims of the conservative faction’s attack on freedom of speech and political freedom.” -Nobel Committee Profile
  • “the worst nightmare of Iran’s hardline clerics” (From an Article in The Guardian)

She said

  • They should ask for their rights, but they should do it peacefully. Obviously the regime wants people to be violent because it gives them an excuse to crack down. People must not give them that excuse.”
  • “A human being divested of all dignity, a human being deprived of human rights, a human being gripped by starvation, a human being beaten by famine, war and illness, a humiliated human being and a plundered human being is not in any position or state to recover the rights he or she has lost.”
  • “The worst solution is a military attack. Democracy is not merchandise to be exported to a country, democracy cannot be purchased and sent to another country.”
  • “The best thing that a student can do is study well — and then go back to Iran.”
  • “Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death, but I have learned to overcome my fear.”
  • “I compare my situation to a person on board a ship. When there is a shipwreck the passenger then falls in the ocean and has no choice but to keep swimming. What happened in our society was that the laws overturned every right that women had. I had no choice. I could not get tired, I could not lose hope. I cannot afford to do that.”
  • “Democracy is like a flower. You must water it daily and check the light if you want to keep it alive. You can’t pour a bucket of water in your flower pot and go back to it a month later.”
  • “If no one speaks out when a government violates human rights and uses oppression, this oppression continues. But when people are informed, they gradually become aware, and when they become aware, they begin to object. No change happens in society unless people become aware.”
  • “That’s when I felt that human rights were being neglected. … Undemocratic countries are more dangerous than a nuclear bomb. It’s undemocratic countries that jeopardise international peace.”
  • “I maintain that nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence.”
  • “When there is injustice to one people and there is no way of receiving justice and when several generations live under the poverty line and there is no hope for the improvement of their lives, they may forget their sanity because of hopelessness. And thus they may resort to violence.”

“Undoubtedly, my selection will be an inspiration to the masses of women who are striving to realize their rights, not only in Iran but throughout the region – rights taken away from them through the passage of history. This selection will make women in Iran, and much further afield, believe in themselves. Women constitute half of the population of every country. To disregard women and bar them from active participation in political, social, economic and cultural life would in fact be tantamount to depriving the entire population of every society of half its capability. The patriarchal culture and the discrimination against women, particularly in the Islamic countries, cannot continue for ever.”

“Whenever women protest and ask for their rights, they are silenced with the argument that the laws are justified under Islam. It is an unfounded argument. It is not Islam at fault, but rather the patriarchal culture that uses its own interpretations to justify whatever it wants. It utilizes psychology to say that women are emotional. It utilizes medical science to say that men’s brains are formed in such a way that they are better able to understand concepts. These are all hypotheses. None of this has been proven. Needless to say, the dominant culture is going to insist on an interpretation of religion that happens to favor men. Before the revolution, there were the first 100 female judges in Iran. I was one of them. After the 1979 revolution, they argued that women cannot be judges, and they made us all into peons in the ministry of justice. But women resisted. We wrote essays, held protests, and organized conferences to insist that women being judges was not incompatible with Islam. After twenty years, they finally accepted the argument and said, OK, women can be judges. So, as you can see, one day they interpret Islam in such a way that women cannot be judges and the next day they manage to reverse themselves.”

“How can you defy fear? Fear is a human instinct, just like hunger. Whether you like it or not, you become hungry. Similarly with fear. But I have learned to train myself to live with this fear. Every time I am fearful I think to myself, the reason they do this is to discourage me from doing what I do. Hence, if I discontinue my work I will have succumbed to my fears.”

“In my memoir, I wanted to introduce American women to Iranian women and our lives. I’m not from the highest echelons of society, nor the lowest. I’m a women who is a lawyer, who is a professor at a university, who won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, I cook. And even when I’m about to go to prison, one of the first things I do is to make enough food and put it in the fridge for my family.”

Awards

  • 2003 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Rafto prize
  • Voted 12th leading public intellectual in 2005
  • Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award
  • International Democracy Award
  • UCI Citizen Peacebuilding Award

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

I think that anyone who is willing to stand up for the rights of women and children in the face of such an oppressive regime should be hailed someone to look up to. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to stand up in a place like Iran, where you will face possible imprisonment and even potentially death.

Sources:

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“We are not half human beings, we are human beings.”

In America, women still have a way to go. For example, abortion is still legal (something that harms women), women don’t get paid as much, and women still do not represent a large part of the government.

But it’s nothing like it could be.

Let’s look at Saudi Arabia. What it’s like there. And how they’re trying to change that.

Women in Saudi Arabia can not

  • vote.
  • drive (the only country in the world where they can’t, by the way).
  • ride bicycles.
  • be elected to a political office.
  • socialize with non-related men (If they do, they can be charged with prostitution).
  • expose anything but their hands and their eyes. (Though this varies by region of Saudi Arabia.)

They also face harsh male guardianship laws and customs, which means that women can not do certain things without permission from a male relative. Even where laws have been repealed in these areas, the customs and institutions haven’t always followed suite.  These laws require them to have a male guardian, no matter what age the women are. The male relative can be a husband, father, brother or even her son if there is no other male. Imagine that. How humiliating to be a grown woman and needing permission from your son to do some of the following things:

  • work
  • travel
  • study (this is a key area to fight for many women, since education, even when attainable, is considered largely unequal)
  • marry
  • divorce (imagine an awful situation like needing your abusive husband’s permission to divorce)
  • access health care (like have a surgery)
  • rent an apartment
  • open a bank account

Some of the stories would surprise you – at least I hope they would surprise you. One woman reports how after giving birth to her daughter, she wasn’t even allowed to sign the papers to take her daughter home. They don’t even really have much control over their name for their male relatives will get angry if they are allowed to sign something without permission. One woman who wanted to marry outside her tribe was even mentally institutionalized by him. The women fighting these laws insist it’s treating them like children.

It is also a society where killing women for honor is not an unheard of thing. One woman, for example, was killed by her father for simply chatting with a man on Facebook.

Along with that, when women are raped or sexually assaulted, it is often seen as their fault for being alone with an unrelated male. But what we know, is that rape is never your fault, and punishing someone who has gone through such a traumatic event is way out of line and probably causes a lot of women never to report their rapes.

There is also heavy sex segregation. This segregation between men and women is similar to the kind of segregation seen in the United States when blacks were not fully integrated. Segregation occurs in

  • many institutions, such as banks and universities.
  • companies and business (If a woman can even find a job; they are hard to find even in places like lingerie shops).
  • public places like ice rinks and beaches.
  • public transportation.
  • restaurants.
  • some private houses.

And of course, that is not to say that these are all segregated, but that is the large majority.

Many people would cite Islam as a reason for these restrictive laws. But not so, many women would insist. “If all women were given the rights the Qur’an guarantees us, and not be supplanted by tribal customs, then the issue of whether Saudi women have equal rights would be reduced.” That’s the statement of journalist Sabria Jawhar. And indeed, they might be able to point to other Islamic countries where women fare better than in Saudi Arabia (like I said above, it is the only country in the world where women can not drive, but they are not the only Islamic country). Some even feel that with such restrictive laws, like laws against driving, that the image of Islam is being hurt.

And to be clear, things have been a lot worse in the past. The first male and female university was opened, for example, and laws were passed against domestic violence. But still, it’s not enough for the freedom that Saudi women want.

They’re fighting back by organizing the Saudi Women Revolution. They’ve taken to Twitter and Facebook – key tools in today’s revolutions, as is quickly becoming apparent. There is both a Saudi Women Revolution page and a page for Women2Drive. There’s the hashtag #women2drive.They post videos on Youtube. They keep at it, despite the fact that their pages are sometimes taken down, their accounts deactivated, or their videos just disappeared. They’ve protested in ways that almost seem mundane, because it’s very hard for me to imagine never having these rights. But these are not mundane things. In a society that has always put women’s rights less, even trying these small things is a huge pushback to their society. Things like, showing up at an election and asking for the right to vote. They also sometimes take to the streets and drive. They’ve collected petitions saying women should drive as well. They have to be very careful to skirt laws against organized protest, a fear of the government as they have watched other middle eastern countries’ governments topple. But it seems to me, the stories I have read about, that the married women have the support of their husbands – another crucial key to empowering women in Saudi Arabia.

It is important to note that they don’t want all the rights women have in the West either. Journalist Maha Akeel  explains, “Look, we are not asking for … women’s rights according to Western values or lifestyles … We want things according to what Islam says. Look at our history, our role models.” For another example, they don’t really want to change the way women have to dress. It’s sort of the least of their worries. And many women like to wear the veil, something many in the West seen as an oppressive thing (and which I’ve blogged about in the past).

(People) lose sight of the bigger issues like jobs and education. That’s the issue of women’s rights, not the meaningless things like passing legislation in France or Quebec to ban the burqa … Non-Saudis presume to know what’s best for Saudis, like Saudis should modernize and join the 21st century or that Saudi women need to be free of the veil and abaya … And by freeing Saudi women, the West really means they want us to be just like them, running around in short skirts, nightclubbing and abandoning our religion and culture. – Sabria Jawhar

In response to these simple actions, even though many women don’t want to be like the West completely, people attack their character. Saying they are anti-religion and immodest and being called harlots, for example. After one protest involving driving, pamphlets with whore and pimps were written next to their names, they lost their passports, and they lost their jobs. They have even been arrested for driving or posting videos of themselves driving. Female drivers have even been called female terrorists by some religious leaders. These women know the risks though and yet are still willing to take them. Those in the public sphere, like journalism, seek to always find a balance between speaking out and being labeled as anti-Islamic, something that will get them basically blacklisted. But it doesn’t stop them from speaking out.

There have even been other women pushing back against them, with campaigns such as “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me.” Polls have found that the majority of Saudi women don’t think they should be able to drive , work with men, or hold public office. The opinion is that things like driving and voting are Western values opposed to Islamic values and that by holding out on making these things legal for women, they are not giving into the West’s ways. Others feel that they already have a lot of independence. Some women feel the guardianship customs and laws are done out of love and caring, for their protection, not to oppress them. There have even been articles to this effect in the press, talking about how good it is that women can’t drive and what a privilege it is. On the extreme end of the spectrum, there have been Facebook pages, calling upon men to beat women who drive. Beat them! For driving!

But in the end, I don’t think these women are going away. Especially not with support of much of the Western community. Many have spoken up on behalf of allowing women to drive. 

“We are not half human beings, we are human beings.” – Khuloud al Fahad, member of the Saudi Women Revolution

“Women in Saudi Arabia see other women in the Middle East making revolutions, women in Yemen and Egypt at the forefront of revolutions, being so bold, toppling entire governments. The women of Saudi Arabia looked at themselves and they realized, ‘Wow! We can’t even drive!’ ” – Waleed Abu Alkhair

“Saudi Arabian women are going to have to fight for our rights, men are not going to just hand them over to us.” – Amira Kashgary

“This is the threshold; this is the point where we have to cross in order to ask for anything else. I can’t say I want to go into government buildings like male citizens or I want women to be recognized as a lawyer when I can’t even drive my own car.” – Al Nafjan

“The ban is much more about women’s identity and independence. Saudi women aren’t asking for the moon here: they’re simply asking for the right to drive to the market or to see their friends, or perhaps to pick up their children at school. They’re asking the all-male monarchy for a small helping of personal power.” – Farzaneh Milani

“Saudi Arabia is the biggest women’s prison in the world.” – Anonymous

Sources/Articles of Note:

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Changing Attitudes to Change Culture on Rape

This story is a bit old, but I have been wanting to cover it for awhile. So here’s my take on this story.

Rape is a horrible problem that happens worldwide. It is even worse in conflict situations, where is is used to shame the women and their men. In some cultures, a woman can be killed for being raped. Even if she’s allowed to live, she’s usually considered pretty undesirable.

Syria is one of those countries. And with the recent conflict, women have been raped.

After hearing about it, some men decided to step forward and offer to marry them. So far as I can tell, they’ve never met them. They’ve never seen them. They don’t know who it is they’re going to marry. But they’re doing it because they don’t agree with how these women have been used.

And that – is a powerful thing. It sends a message, both to these woman and to these rapists. To the women it says, someone wants you. You are desired. You don’t have to live the rest of your life in shame. To the rapists it says, you can’t take them from us. You can’t make them not count.

And that – is how cultures get changed. When places where the long standing history is that rape brings immense shame has men who say, no. Because really, cultures of violence against women, can only get so far by educating the women. The men are the one who need to be educated, who need to stand up and say this is not okay, because usually the men are the one perpetuating these crimes. And these men are doing that. And when the men and the women in a culture stand up and say this is not okay, it is the first step to ending it.

Enjoy the read: Syrian Men Promise to Marry Women Who Were Raped

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The Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Agenda

About a week ago this time, I was in New York City. It was my first time ever in the Big Apple. And what was I doing? Living my dream of being at the United Nations (UN). Not only being there, but participating as a youth representative for National Right to Life for the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on Youth. And while I loved being there and the experience was really great, at the same time, I came away feeling frustrated and discouraged. Why, you ask? Mainly because of organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and their extreme Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (hereafter referred to as SRHR as their own abbreviation) agenda.

If you had asked me, I’d have to be honest. I have probably always known that IPPF and other organizations don’t just allow abortion, they encourage it. But, I had no idea it was so bad, to tell you the truth. I almost titled this post – Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: The Bad and the Ugly, but I changed my mind at the last minute. But to me, it was truly sad and disheartening to witness how taken in by this idea (and in my opinion, lie) that some people are.

These are some of the things that I heard and that some people said and my comments in parantheses.

  • “Abstinence leads to greater infections of HIV and AIDS.” (This is one I really don’t understand. Back in the day, people could get it from blood transfusions, but now that we can and do test for it, one of the main ways to get it is to have unprotected sex or to share needles for drugs. And I don’t think there’s any correlation like ‘People who abstain are more likely to do drugs.’ Abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.)
  • After having stated that the purpose of Y-PEER (an arm of IPPF) is to “empower youth to make their own health choices” I asked “Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth sometimes? I mean, we don’t let them smoke, we discourage them from doing drugs, we don’t let them drink alcohol. Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth from certain health choices?” To which the answer was (one sentence) “As a progressive education organization, we don’t believe in telling youth what to do and what not to do.” (This to me is really scary – it sounds like they would let young people do anything as long as young people were educated to me. Say I had a ten year old and my ten year old wanted to do drugs and he had been educated about what they did and how they work. By their own reasoning, my ten year old should be allowed to do drugs. That kind of reasoning is such a slippery slope.)
  • “Abstinence is impossible!” (To which I say false. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who was abstinent until marriage. And if I did it, clearly it’s not impossible. I am far from superhuman, trust me.)
  • “When the sexual and reproductive health rights of youth are upheld, they have greater access to education.” (This seems all backwards to me. How does knowing how to have safe sex teach you how to read? Someone explain please.)
  • “There is a huge problem in my country that people think children are a blessing from God so they keep having more of them.”  (First of all, children ARE a blessing from God. Second of all, if you are all about choices, how can you tell people that they are having too many children?)
  • One speaker implied that women who marry young are uneducated. (This really upset me because I married at 20 and I am almost finished with my Bachelor’s degree – early at that – and considering getting my Master’s. Even if I don’t get my Master’s, it would be because I have never felt strongly about getting a Master’s degree and I have other goals and dreams, not because I got married.)
  • After hearing a man talk about how it was time to listen to the young people all evening long, afterwards I approached him and the following exchange took place (I think it speaks for itself).
    “You keep saying you want to listen to the young people, but the truth is, you don’t want to listen to the young people who disagree with you.”
    “Well when all the choices are available, if you disagree, you don’t have to make that choice.”
    “But we know some things are bad for people, that’s why we try not to let people make those choices, like we make some drugs illegal.”
    “It’s just that our society was founded on the basis of freedom.”
    “But we restrict some freedoms for the protection of other people, like if I wanted to murder you, I couldn’t do that, because there are laws limiting my freedom for your protection.”
    “That may be so.”

We also saw blatant attempts to censor us. In their earlier events, they took questions from the audience. After getting many, many pro-life questions that they fumbled through the answers on, in their last event, they only took written questions so they could pick and choose which ones to ask. There were many questions we submitted that were never asked or answered.

They are trying to put all of this in under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 which is on improving maternal health. However, when you listen to them and see their publications, it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to improve maternal health, they just want guaranteed access to contraception and abortion for everyone.

But abortion and contraception are not the answer to solving maternal health. Contraception doesn’t fix maternal health because it allows people to have more sex, thus increasing their risk of becoming pregnant, since no contraception works 100 percent. The reasons for that are two fold. First because abortions  actually hurt maternal health and second because it doesn’t address some of the real causes of maternal mortality.

There is a LOT of evidence to support these two points (By the way, don’t feel like you need to read them all – just a sampling will give you an idea of what is out there. I include them in case you are like ” I can’t get enough of this” as I sometime am) .

There are other ways to end the problem of maternal mortality. More hospitals, that are sterile and clean. Educating women about proper prenatal care. Having more trained doctors and midwives. Having the supplies and drugs on hand that are needed. Basically, providing women with the adequate care. Because women are dying from things we know how to treat and prevent. So we should channel our energy and funds into treating and preventing, not into abortion.

It’s my hope that after reading this, you’ve learned a little bit about why increasing access to abortion does nothing to reduce maternal mortality. I think the agenda they’re pushing – sex for anyone, with anyone, any time you want and if an oops happens then you should get an abortion, is healthy, normal, or good for society.

Further more, here are some links to read by others who were there or who reported on it. I’ll star the ones that talk about one or more events that I witnessed or pamphlets that I have seen and in some cases have in my possession and will be going over with a fine tooth comb to blog about when I get a chance that I can back up and say, yes, that really did happen.

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“I am never frightened when I tell the truth” – Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya. You many never have heard her name, but I want to introduce you to her, for I believe she is a hero among women and for women. All of the following are in no particular order, because I decided that all of them are of equal importance to know and of equal importance to hear and understand, so that you might get the picture. I know it’s kind of long, but whatever part you choose to read, should it be all or part, I hope you come across and understanding of who she is and what she is fighting for.

Among other things, she

  • was the youngest member of the Afghan parliament ever at 27 (until she was expelled for speaking up about something unpopular).
  • is living in hiding.
  • is still continuing to speak up despite this.
  • was denied a US visa until public outrage got that decision overturned.
  • has been assaulted.
  • has had threats of rape used against her.
  • is a survivor of attempts on her life (current count is at least 5).
  • opposes Karzai and his regime.
  • calls out the American government and says what they’re doing has nothing to do with humanitarianism (something that I agree with).
  • is the author of a book, A Woman Among Warlords, which has been translated into more than 12 different languages.
  • was named in Time‘s 100 most influential people.
  • receives death threats.
  • lives in constant presence of bodyguards.
  • moves every single day.
  • is forced to wear a burqa in order to hide her identity when out and about for her safety.
  • wants to see the war criminals answer to their crimes before international courts.
  • has written op eds about kill teams in Afghanistan for The Guardian.
  • believes people can make a difference, even when governments fail to.
  • established important services under the Taliban, including a health clinic and an orphanage.
  • taught refugees to read and write.
  • received the Anna Politkovskaya award for human rights.
  • got married despite the fact that she can hardly see her husband for the sake of his safety.

She has been described as

  • someone “who has spoken out with incredible courage against the torturers of the Afghan people: the Soviet invaders; the Islamic fundamentalists unleashed by Reagan and the Pakistani intelligence agencies; the medieval Taliban fanatics trained in the U.S./Saudi-backed madrassas established by Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq; and finally the U.S. forces and their NATO subordinates who restored the rule of the warlords and are now themselves killing and destroying in the name of ‘liberation’ and women’s rights” (Malalai Joya on connexions).
  • “Afghanistan’s most internationally recognized activist” (Give Malalai Joya a Visa).
  • “a lonely voice campaigning for women’s rights in her country” (Give Malalai Joya a Visa).
  • “an exemplar of the sort of democracy that embodies women’s rights” (Give Malalai Joya a Visa).
  • “a woman who doesn’t back down” (A Woman Among Warlords: Malalai Joya brings message of peace to Surf City).

Some of the things she has said include

  • “It was obvious from the very first days that the United States had compromised the rights of Afghan women by supporting some of the worst enemies of women that our country has ever seen” (Malalai Joya on connexions).
  • that Afghanistan needs most “an invasion of hospitals, clinics and schools for boys and girls” (Malalai Joya on connexions).
  • “These values must be fought for and won by the people themselves. They can only grow and flourish when they are planted by the people in their own soil and watered by their own blood and tears” (Malalai Joya on connexions).
  • “We remain caged in our country, without access to justice and still ruled by women-hating criminals. Fundamentalists still preach that ‘a woman should be in her house or in the grave.’ In most places, it is still not safe for a woman to appear in public uncovered, or to walk on the street without a male relative. Girls are sold into marriage. Rape goes unpunished” (Give Malalai Joya a Visa).
  • “the fundamentalists are counting days to eliminate me and silence my voice” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS)
  • “I will never give up and will continue to be the voice of millions of voiceless Afghan people who are still being brutalized and smashed by fundamentalists like the Northern Alliance and Taliban” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS)
  • “The Afghan parliament is the most disgusting and corrupt parliament in the world. Over 85 percent of the MPs [Members of Parliament] are those who should first of all appear in the court for their crimes against our people. They are trying to use this body for their own interests and benefits. Most of the time the warlords present are arguing to increase the benefits given to MPs. They are bargaining for their salaries to be increased, but they have no intention or willingness to work on laws for the betterment of Afghan people” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS).
  • “The voice of me and a number of other democratic-minded MPs is not heard and we are not given time to speak. My microphone has been cut off a number of times when I criticize this situation and want to express my point of view. Once they even physically attacked me inside the parliament and one of them said ‘take and rape this prostitute’ (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS).
  • “Parliament is just a showpiece for the West to say that there is democracy in Afghanistan, but our people don’t need this donated B52 democracy. I am very fed up with the parliament and have no hope for it to do anything for our people. It is a parliament of killers, murderer, drug-lords and traitors to the motherland. The only reason I am there is to have the opportunity to expose the nature of the parliament and the policy makers and become the voice of my people in it. Being an MP gives me the opportunities to raise my opposition, and my voice is heard by others in Afghanistan and outside” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS).
  • “I think that no nation can donate liberation to another nation. Liberation is not money to be donated; it should be achieved in a country by the people themselves” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS).
  • (on the subject of what she wants Americans to know) “I want them to know that Afghan people have been victims of the U.S. government’s wrong policies in the past three decades following the Cold War. They should know that Afghanistan is not “liberated” at all as trumpeted by the Western media. They should know that their government is playing a chess game with our country and is not interested in its stability. They should now that worse enemies of the Afghan people, those who brought Osama Bin Laden to Afghanistan and slaughtered our people and committed unbelievable crimes against its unfortunate women, are now in power and backed by the U.S. government. They should know that Afghan people are facing a 9/11 everyday. They should know that under the U.S. occupation, Afghanistan has become the world’s number one opium producer and a large part of it is smuggled to the U.S. Finally they should know that, like all human beings Afghan people love democracy and freedom and dream of a prosperous life. While we hate the war-mongering and criminal-fostering policies of the U.S. government, we feel, acknowledge and thank the sympathies and support of the U.S. people and learn from their humanism and dedication” (Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS).
  • “I never had to wear a burka before” (A Woman Among Warlords: Malalai Joya brings message of peace to Surf City).
  • “We have two choices . . . to sit in silence, or to do struggle. But I’m alive. I didn’t expect to be alive” (A Woman Among Warlords: Malalai Joya brings message of peace to Surf City).
  • “Firstly, the U.S. is not in Afghanistan to fulfill their empty promises of ‘peace’ and ‘democracy’ but for their own political, economic and regional interests. They installed a fundamentalist, criminal and corrupt regime which is mainly the root cause for many problems of my country—particularly the women’s rights catastrophe—and they continue to nurture them till this minute. Since 2001, more than 8,000 civilians—mostly innocent children, women and men—have been killed in their military operations, such as the massacre of 152 innocent women and children in Balabaluk village, 65 innocent women in children in Kunar province and over 140 villagers in Kundoz province. As the result of bringing such a treacherous government in power, Afghanistan is facing a women’s rights disaster; it is the second most corrupt country in the world and is the highest opium producer of the world, the outcome of which is extremely dangerous as now my homeland has fallen prey for drug mafias, who are far more deadly than terrorists. Afghanistan is suffering extreme poverty—over 80% of people live below the poverty line mainly because of the U.S. imposing globalization system on free market economy which only greatly widens the gap between rich and poor. This disastrous situation is gaining momentum under the very nose of 47 foreign nations present with more than 93,000 US troops and 39,000 NATO troops” (Malalai Joy: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire).
  • “Obama may have brought changes for American people but for my people, he is just a more dangerous Bush. It was during his tenure that civilian casualties increased by 24%. A surge of 30,000 troops was executed which only results in more bloodshed, disasters and mourning and wide military and intelligence bases of the US are being built all over the country” (Malalai Joy: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire).
  • “The current situation of women is quite depressing. Women are subjected to extreme kinds of violence such as rape, killings, kidnappings, acid attacks, cutting of nose and ears. Many such horrible and heart-wrenching crimes against the women and girls of Afghanistan are happening everyday. To escape their miseries, women commit self-immolation and its number is very high in many provinces. There is a huge emphasis in the media about education particularly girls’ education and they just magnify statistics and fool people that 6 million children go to school but now about 5 million children have dropped out—mainly girls because of the high insecurity. Even if they go to school, it is usually a roofless building with no proper books or notebooks and the conditions of schools are very bad. There are women parliamentarians and a women’s ministry and they are the heroines of the mainstream media but practically they are not doing anything for the betterment of the women’s conditions and the situation is getting worse everyday. Furthermore, there have been pro-women laws passed but it is clear that it would never get implemented and the law book is just a collection of useless papers for this regime full of anti-women elements”  (Malalai Joy: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire).
  • “These people are snakes in the sleeves of the government. Only if the government tackles them head-on will we see a brighter future” (Profile: Malalai Joy from the BBC).
  • “Today the Afghan government is the most corrupt in our whole history and the third most corrupt in the world” (Interview with Malalai Joya from Foreign Policy in Focus).
  • “Women’s conditions in some cities have slightly improved since the Taliban regime. But if we compare it with the era before the rule of the fundamentalists in Afghanistan, it has not changed much. Afghan women had more rights in the 1960s to 1980s than today. Rapes, abductions, murders, violence, forced marriages, and violence are increasing at an alarming rate never seen before in our history. Women commit self-immolation to escape their miseries, and the rate of self-immolations is climbing in many of the provinces. Afghanistan still faces a women’s rights catastrophe” (Interview with Malalai Joya from Foreign Policy in Focus).
  • “I am not sure how many more days I will be alive” (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  • “But I don’t fear death, I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice . . . I am young and I want to live. But I say to those who would eliminate my voice: ‘I am ready, wherever and whenever you might strike. You can cut down the flower, but nothing can stop the coming of the spring’ (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  • “Every day in Afghanistan, even now, hundreds if not thousands of ordinary women act out these small gestures of solidarity with each other. We are our sisters’ keepers” (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  • “For fundamentalists, a women is half a human, meant only to fulfil a man’s every wish and lust, and to produce children and toil in the home”  (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  • “If these criminals raped your mother or your daughter or your grandmother, or killed seven of your sons, let alone destroyed all the moral and material treasure of your country, what words would you use against such criminals that will be inside the framework of politeness and respect?” (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  •  “I am never frightened when I tell the truth” (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
  • “In Afghanistan we have a saying: the truth is like the sun. When it comes up, nobody can block it out or hide it” (Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced).
Here are some videos of her being interviewed. The first video is also shown at the beginning of the second video, but I think it’s worth seeing. At the time this video was shot, I believe she was 25 and speaking out against some of the most corrupt people in the world.
All of this is why I think that she is a hero among women and for women. First of all, for not being afraid to speak the truth in the face of intimidation. For speaking up for women in a place where the West portrays them as not being able to speak up. For all of her accomplishments. For everything she’s made it through. She is truly a remarkable woman to me and she deserves a lot of respect.

If you’re interested in reading her book, it can be found on Amazon here.

Sources:
Malalai Joya on connexions
Give Malalai Joya a Visa
Interview: Malalai Joya on NOW PBS
A Woman Among Warlords: Malalai Joya brings message of peace to Surf City
Malalai Joy: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire
Profile: Malalai Joy from the BBC
Malalai Joya Bio from Afghanistan Online
Interview with Malalai Joya from Foreign Policy in Focus
US Blocks Visit from Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced
Why Can’t This Afghan Activist Get a Visa? 

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Maternal Health: A Human Right?

So, my professor handed me a disk from Amnesty International about Maternal Health as a human right. So I thought, okay, I’ll take a look at it and see what sort of information I can find. Because I am, for the most part, on board with this. I think that health care, in general, is a human right because we should have a right to live and to have a life, but I think that maternal health care is one of those areas that should be a right because it is so preventable. A lot of complications of child birth we do know how to treat. Giving women the right to maternal health care is giving women the right to life. My only hesitation is that sometimes this includes “family planning” a blanket term often used to cover abortion and the birth control pill, which I wrote about earlier as being bad for women.

According to Amnesty International, “more than 350,000 women die from complications pregnancy and childbirth – that’s one woman every ninety seconds. Most of these deaths could have been easily prevented if women had timely access to quality maternal and reproductive health care services.” – Source (This will be my source for everything in this post since I’m taking my information off of their disk). If you do the math, that’s more than 350,000 in one year. Can you even fathom that? It is hard for women in rural areas to reach health facilities. More than 95 percent of women and girls who die from this are from less-developed countries, but plenty die in marginalized or poor communities in rich countries. Two examples of less-developed countries would be in Sierra Leone where 1 in every 21 women dies in childbirth and Burkina Faso where 4,000 women die every year. I think, however, these are more the stories we are familiar with, so I won’t spend much time on them. We know that women in underdeveloped countries die, but we forget about the ones who are dying in our own backyards. Not that it is less tragic, I just want to remind you that this isn’t something that happens to “other people.” Because certainly, 1 in 21 women, like in Sierra Leone is truly tragic and something definitely needs to be done about that.

But I want to spend a little time on the US, just so you understand this isn’t just a “poor country” problem. Did you know (and I find this shocking) that in 1987 6.6 women per 100,000 live births died in the US. That seems like a low number. And albeit, it is an admittedly low number. But then you look at in 2006, it was 13.3 per 100,000 live births. That’s a low number also comparatively, but that’s not the shocking part to me. The shocking part is that even though medical technology has increased since 1987, more women die. If technology is increasing, shouldn’t the number of deaths go down? In 1998, under the Healthy People 2010 goals the United States wanted to drop that number to 4.3, but instead it has gone up and only five states have met that goal. 5 out of 50. And, lest you think it’s because we’re not investing enough money, we spend more on health care than any other country and more on maternal health care than any other type of health care. In a woman’s risk of death from pregnancy and complications, we 41st in the world. If you want to see how we stack up, a woman in childbirth is three times less likely to die in Spain, four times less likely to die in Germany, and five times less likely to die in Greece. And that’s only looking at deaths. The number of women who suffer a severe pregnancy complication in terms of the woman’s health is 1.7 million in a single year. 1.7 million. And there is also a race divide – African-American women? 5.6 times more likely to die when compared to white women in the US; in New York City their ratio is 83.6 per 100,000 live births. Here, in the US. Amnesty International places the blame for this on poverty, but I think there are more factors (I’m just not sure what they are yet – possibly the medicalization of childbirth as the system is set up to make women birth in very unnatural ways). Some other potential factors are the cost of health care and the fact that many insurance companies either don’t cover pregnant women or exclude maternal care. That’s if you even have insurance in the first place. There is also the fact that many women lack the needed prenatal care, which makes you three or four times more likely to die in childbirth. This hits minority women the hardest as they are even more unlikely to receive prenatal care (including Native Americans and Alaska Natives). Amnesty International also feels that women in the US receive inadequate postpartum care. Another potential problem is that maternal health care isn’t up to speed. One example cited is that medical science has shown that blood clot risk can be reduced after surgery with compression stockings or drugs but this isn’t always done after a c-section. Another fact that I personally believe has a lot to do with it is our use of C-sections. 1 in 3 women in America give birth via c-section, higher than WHO’s recommended guidelines (at max, 15 percent), which gives them a risk of death that is three times higher than having the baby the natural way.

This is a problem that is happening in our own backyard. Wisconsin’s rate is 7.2 per 100,000, so less than national average, but still not great. Compared to the other states, we rank 13th, so not horrible, but not that great either. Our state doesn’t mandate that employer plans cover care for pregnant women nor do they mandate reporting maternal deaths. 15.1 percent of women across the board and 27.4 percent of women of color don’t get prenatal care until late in their pregnancy or even at all. Granted, our c-section rate is a little bit lower than national average, but at 25 percent even it is still higher than recommended.

Like I said before, women deserve a right to life, especially pregnant women. That right to life is a human right and it doesn’t and shouldn’t disappear just because you are pregnant and a woman.

Once again, this is my source Source

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Abortion: A Woman’s Right?

I want to write this post and first off, I want to say that I know people who have had abortions and I know what tough situations people have been in. I have nothing but mercy and love and compassion and a desire to help women. That’s why I also think that abortion is wrong. I refuse to be called anti-woman and I refuse to be a person who says, “I’m personally opposed, but it’s their choice.” I am a feminist and I hope after reading this blog article you will understand why. I believe that being a feminist is not about making women equal with men because equal would mean that we had no differences, but celebrating what makes women unique and never turning down a woman because she is a woman. Equality is not always the best way because it doesn’t recognize that there are genuine differences between men and women.

And I think that abortion is not a woman’s right. On top of what it does to the baby, there is a lot of evidence that abortion is harmful to women. I’m going to lay out some of the facts, just know that this won’t be the last time I blog about this issue and know that I will bring it up again periodically with new information.

Here is my proof that shows that abortion is bad for women – in easy to read bullet format.

1) Among women with unintended pregnancies, those who abort versus those who carry their pregnancy to term, 30 percent of these women (who abort) have all the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, according to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.(Source)

2) According to the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, when they study the California health care system, women who aborted who made mental health claims was 17 percent higher than those who carried their children to term. (Source)

3) Another two articles from the British Medical Journal and the Southern Medical Journal, the death by suicide risk is 2-6 times higher for women who chose to abort versus those who have given birth. (Source

4)Abortion, according to the Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey increases the risk of Placenta Previa by 50 percent in future pregnancies. What’s Placenta Previa, you ask? It is a condition where the placenta attaches to your cervix, covering it either in part or in whole. It is a risk to both baby AND mother, since it can cause uncontrollable, heavy bleeding. (Source 1 2)

5)The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 100,000 women dies as a result of abortion. Now this, overall seems low. Except for the fact that Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey found that they were largely underreported because reporting to the CDC is not mandatory. (Source 1 2)

6) The number of women who have abortions for health reasons? 2 percent. (Source)

7) A study done by the Journal of Social Issues reported 81 percent of women felt victimized by their abortions, along with the fact that they felt coerced or that they felt not informed about alternatives and/or the procedure. (Source)

8.) Another way it harms women is that it gives men more power over them. One study found that 40 percent of women reported their boyfriends/husbands/partners pressured them into the abortions. Another has found as high as 80 percent of women felt pressure from people in their lives (parents included). (Source Source 2 Source 3)

9) Early feminists knew that abortion would oppress women – and fought hard against it! (Source)

10) The rate of ectopic pregnancies has risen dramatically since abortion was made legal and that the risk is twice as high in women who have had an abortion and increases with more abortions. 12 percent of all maternal related pregnancy deaths are because of ectopic pregnancies. (Source)

11) A woman has a 30 percent chance of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease after an abortion. This can lead to fever and infertility among other things (Source)

12) Abortion increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and liver cancer. (Source)

13) Above and beyond that, abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. (Source 1 Source 2)

14) “Dozens of studies tie abortion to a rise in sexual dysfunction, aversion to sex, loss of intimacy, unexpected guilt, extramarital affairs, traumatic stress syndrome, personality fragmentation, grief responses, child abuse and neglect, and increase in alcohol and drug abuse. An Elliot Institute study indicates that women who abort are five times more likely to abuse drugs.” (Source)

15) “Post-abortion specialist David Reardon writes, “In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor.” (Source)

16) Mortality is 2.95 higher in abortions than in full term pregnancies (Source)

17) 154 percent higher risk of death by suicide after abortion (Source)

18) According to a New Zealand Study, “women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs” after an abortion. (Source)

19) 4 Words: Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. Find out more here and here and here and here and here.

One notable person who is speaking out about abortion is Abby Johnson.

Canada is defunding Planned Parenthood.

I want to sum up with a quote from one of the sources that I listed. “If a nation as rich as ours were truly committed to women’s well-being and equality, we would look for real solutions to the underlying causes of abortion – including the serious challenge women face of balancing work or school and family, the disrespect for motherhood, the feminization of poverty, and society’s eugenic distaste for the imperfection and vulnerability of the disabled.” (Source)

Lastly, if you have had an abortion and you are suffering the negative consequences of it, there is hope and help. Check it out.

After Abortion
Victims of Abortion Speak Out
Silent No More
Victims of Choice
Project Rachel

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